T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Lophozonia menziesi (Silver beech)

Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Fagales
Family: Nothofagaceae
Genus: Lophozonia
Species: L. menziesii
Binomial name: Lophozonia menziesii (was known as Nothofagus menziesii prior to 2013).
Synonyms: Nothofagus menziesii, Fagus menziesii
Common names: Silver beech, Round-leaved beech, Tāwai, Tawhai

Lophozonia menziesii is a tree of the southern beech family endemic to New Zealand. Its common name probably comes from the fact that its bark is silvery on young trees. It is found in lowland to montane forests and in the shrub in the sub-alpine zone from Thames southwards in the North Island (except Mount Taranaki/Egmont), and throughout the South Island.

Silver beech is a forest tree up to 30 m tall. The trunk, which is often buttressed, may be up to 2 m in diameter. The leaves are small, thick and almost round in shape; 6 to 15 mm long and 5 to 15 mm wide with rounded teeth. They usually occur in pairs, 1 or 2 hair-fringed domatia are found on the underside of each leaf.
The tiny tree's flowers are monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found in the same tree) and they are pollinated by wind. Lophozonia menziesii is the host plant for the parasitic mistletoe, Peraxilla colensoi and is also host to the parasitic beech strawberry fungus (Cyttaria gunni).

The tree’s timber is red, tough, strong, elastic and with a straight grain. It is not durable outdoors. It was used for house blocks, wine cases, etc. and for making furniture. The bark which contains a black dye and tannin was used by settlers for tanning leather. 
The early Maori also used the bark in dyeing fibre used in weaving.  Puku tawai (Cyttaria gunni) a fungoid growth on the trunk of the tree was used as a touchwood or punk in fire-generating and as a fire-stick. They also used a chip of the wood as a lure for the fish barracuata.

  

The round serrated leaves of  Lophozonia menziesii




Thanks to Wikipedia for text and information http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/