This small genus contains 34 species from South America, Australia, New Zealand and New Guinea and includes both deciduous and evergreen trees.
They are generally smaller-leaved than the northern beeches and less tolerant of chalk soils. Although related to beeches and currently included in the family Fagaceae, some botanists consider then sufficiently distinct to be awarded their own family.
Red beech, Nothofagus fusca
This small to medium-sized evergreen tree comes from New Zealand and is less hardy than the South American species. Its leaves turn a rusty red colour in autumn – hence the name.
Antarctic beech, Nothofagus Antarctica
The Antarctic beech was introduced from Chile in 1830. Not surprisingly, it is extremely hardy and grows to be a small to medium-sized tree.
Rauli, Nothofagus alpina
Introduced from Chile and Argentina in 1913, this fast-growing species has been the subject of much interest from foresters looking for attractive yet commercial timber species. Leaves are larger than most other species. The best trees can be seen in the southern beech collection on Palmer Ride.
Roble beech, Nothofagus obliqua
Introduced from Chile and Argentina in 1902, this is perhaps the best known and frequently seen species. A fine mature specimen can be seen towards the western end of Broad Drive.
Dombey’s southern beech, Nothofagus dombeyi
This rare evergreen species was introduced from Chile and Argentina in 1916. It is a particularly ornamental tree and a fine specimen can be seen on the edge of Palmer Ride.
Nothofagus x Alpina
A hybrid discovered at Bedgebury Pinetum, our sister collection (near Goudhurst in Kent) in the 1920s. Our specimen in the southern beech collection is the champion. The hybrid also occurs in the wild in Chile with its parents.