Deciduous Beech

(Nothofagus gunnii)



Fuscospora gunnii is a small tree which may grow up to 3 metres tall (growth habit is heavily dependent on the exposure of the site) and has a thick shrubby appearance due to substantial branching. The alternating leaves are simple and ovate with toothed margins and attached by short petioles. Leaf lamina is generally <20mm in length and is distinctly 'crinkled'. It is most easily visually separated from the similar Fagus species Lophozomia cunninghamii (previously Nothofagus cunninghamii),by the crinkled appearance of the leaf lamina. During Autumn and Winter months, the leaves undergo colour change as any other deciduous species does. The leaves of this deciduous species have an average lifespan of around 5 months.The leaves are simple and alternate, growing 1 cm long. The leaf color is bright green, turning yellow, then brilliant red, in autumn. They are almost circular in shape with deep veins which end in the gaps between the rounded teeth on the leaf. The plant has separate male and female flowers on the tree. Both male and female flowers are small and inconspicuous. The fruit is small (about 6 mm wide) and woody, and contains three small winged nuts. In most years seed production is poor, but once in a while a 'mast' crop occurs with high germination. The seeds have a very short viability. Tanglefoot forests cannot survive fire, and must re-establish from neighbouring areas. They are very sensitive to changed conditions due to their slow growth. Under 100 km² of forest remain. It is the only native deciduous tree in Tasmania, and the only cold climate winter-deciduous tree in Australia.

Taxonomic tree:

Kingdom: Plantae
Class: Magnoliopsida
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