Gardening Magazine

Plant of the Week: Nothofagus Obliqua

By Davis Landscape Architecture @DavisLandArch
Nothofagus obliqua Leaf (05/05/2012, Kew, London)

Nothofagus obliqua Leaf (05/05/2012, Kew, London)

Position: Full sun

Flowering period: Early summer

Soil: Moist, well drained

Eventual Height: 40m

Eventual Spread: 20m

Hardiness: 8a – 10a

Family: Northofagaceae

Nothofagus obliqua is a large, fast growing, upright deciduous tree. Its dark green leaves are alternate, ovate to oblong with a serrate margin, unequally sided, up to 8cm and 4cm wide and are glaucous beneath. Its leaves become yellow/ red before they fall in autumn. Its smaller branches form a regular herring bone pattern. Its trunk may achieve a diameter of 2m. Its brown/ red bark becomes gray with age and split into plates by vertical and horizontal fissures. Its monoecious flowers are inconspicuous and give rise to 30 or 40 stamens. Its bright green fruit appear at the base of each leaf and are up to 8mm long.

Nothofagus obliqua (05/05/2012, Kew, London)

Nothofagus obliqua (05/05/2012, Kew, London)

Nothofagus obliqua, commonly known as Roble, Roble beech, Coyan and Hualle, is native to Chile and Argentina. The tree was introduced to the British Isles in 1849.

The etymological root of the binomial name Nothofagus is derived from the Greek nothos ‘counterfeit’ and fagus ‘beech’. The name obliqua means ‘slanting’ or ‘oblique’, referring to the irregular shape of the leaves.

The landscape architect may find Nothofagus obliqua useful as a large deciduous specimen tree.

Ecologically, N. obliqua has little wildlife value in the UK.

N. obliqua prefers moist, fertile, well-drained soils, it dislike dry soils. It prefers acid to neutral pH of soil.

Nothofagus obliqua Bark (05/05/2012, Kew, London)

Nothofagus obliqua Bark (05/05/2012, Kew, London)

Nothofagus obliqua requires little maintenance.

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