In its typical state this species is distinct from Nothofagus solandri in its ovate leaves, acute at the apex, rounded at the base, but intermediate shapes occur. Since there is no other reliable character by which the two species can be distinguished, Nothofagus cliffortioides has sometimes been treated as a variety of Nothofagus solandri (as Nothofagus solandri var cliffortioides (Hook.f.) Poole). However, a more recent treatment by Peter B Heenan and Rob David Smissen (Revised circumscription of Nothofagus and recognition of the segregate genera Fuscospora, Lophozonia, and Trisyngyne (Nothofagaceae; Phytotaxa 146 (1): 1-31 (2013)) has restored specific status for Nothofagus cliffortioides (whilst also proposing it be transferred to the genus Fuscospora as Fuscospora cliffortioides (Hook.f.) Heenan & Smissen.
Fagus cliffortioides Hook.f.
Fuscospora cliffortioides (Hook.f.) Heenan & Smissen
Nothofagus solandri cliffortioides (Hook.f.) Poole
Common Name: Mountain Beech
Nothofagus cliffortioides is an evergreen tree usually growing no more than 15 metres tall and reduced to a shrub at higher elevations[
The tree is harvested from the wild as a source of wood.
New Zealand - North and South Islands.
Montane and sub-alpine forests and scrub, southwards from latitude 38°s, in North and South Islands[
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Nothofagus cliffortioides is able to withstand some fruits, tolerating occasional, short-lived temperatures falling as low as -5 to -8°c. In Britain it only succeeds outdoors by the coast and in the mildest areas of the country[
]. It is hardy and succeeding well at Crarae in western Scotland[
Prefers an open well-drained loamy soil in a sunny position[
]. Succeeds on most soils but dislikes calcareous soils[
]. Prefers a pH between 5 and 7, but dislikes acid peats[
]. Resents maritime exposure[
Species in this genus often have poor wind resistance in cultivation, probably because they grow so fast[
Trees up to 4 metres tall can be successfully established, though the optimum size for transplanting is about 30 - 80cm. The roots are very sensitive to desiccation and extreme care should be taken when transplanting them[
Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[
Wood - easily worked. Used for general carpentry, telegraph posts etc[
The seed is best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cool greenhouse or cold frame. Spring-sown seed requires 2 - 3 months stratification at 1 - 5°c[
]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a lightly shaded position in the cold frame for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. The seed must not be allowed to dry out according to one report[
] whilst another says that the seed can be stored dry at 2°c for long periods[
Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 6 - 10cm with a heel, mid summer in a frame[