Common name: Antarctic beech
Nothofagus antarctica is a deciduous tree or shrub native to southern Chile and Argentina. It is not a beech. ‘Notho’ means false and ‘fagus’ beech. This hardy tree is in its own family, Nothofagaceae.
Antarctic beech grows up to 25 m/80 ft tall and has a slender trunk with chocolate brown bark covered in silver slices. It has small, sweetly scented glossy leaves. These leaves have a crinkled texture and change from a mid-dark green in summer to bright yellow, orange, and even red in fall.
Our solo specimen leans out over the south tip of the Southern Hemisphere Peninsula and was planted in the early 1970s before the Garden opened.
Text and photos by Hughie Jones, except for red-leafed photo from the City of Vancouver Archives.
Photos of Antarctic beech showing it growing in different forms (shrub, tall tree and dwarf tree) during fall and winter at VanDusen. Last four photos show it leafing out in early to mid-April.