Southern Beech False

(Nothofagus antarctica)



Nothofagus antarctica (Antarctic beech; in Spanish Ñire or Ñirre) is a deciduous tree or shrub native to southern Chile and Argentina from about 36°S to Tierra del Fuego (56° S), where it grows mainly in the diminishing temperate rainforest. Its occurrence on Hoste Island has previously earned it the distinction of being the southernmost tree on earth; however, in 2019 it was established that N. betuloides was found further south on Hornos Island. N. antarctica is present on Hornos as well, but the southernmost individual is slightly further north (17m) of the southernmost N. betuloides. Nothofagus antarctica typically grows 5–25 m (12–80 ft) tall and has a slender trunk with scaly bark. The leaves are simple and alternate, growing 2-4.5 cm long, and often viscid, with a sweetly scented wax. The leaf color is medium green, turning yellow to orange in the fall. The leaves are broadly ovate to triangular, crinkly, rounded at the tips, irregularly and minutely toothed. The flowers are inconspicuous yellow-green catkins. The fruit is a 6 mm, very fragrant 4-valved capsule containing three small nuts.

Taxonomic tree:

Kingdom: Plantae
Class: Magnoliopsida
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