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Nothofagus antarctica (Antarctic Beech; in Spanish Ñire or Ñirre), is a deciduous tree or shrub native to southern Chilemarker and Argentinamarker from about 36°S latitude south to Tierra del Fuegomarker (56° S). The southernmost occurrence is on Hoste Islandmarker, making it the southernmost trees on earth. It grows mainly in the diminishing temperate rainforests.

It typically grows 10-25 m (32-80 ft) tall and has a slender trunk with attractive scaly bark. The leaves are simple and alternate, growing 2-4.5 cm long, and often viscid, with a sweetly scented wax. The leaf color is medium green, becoming yellow to orange in the fall. They are broadly ovate to triangular, crinkly, rounded at the tips, irregularly and minutely toothed. The flowers are inconspicuous yellow-green catkins. The fruit is a 6 mm, very fragrant 4-valved capsule containing three small nuts.

It has been planted in the North Pacific Coast of the United Statesmarker and in Great Britainmarker and does very well in that country. Trees planted in Faroe Islandsmarker, which were imported directly from its southernmost distribution in Tierra del Fuego, have shown a good hardiness. .

Nothofagus moorei, found in Australia, is also referred to as "Antarctic Beech".

References and external links

  • Donoso, C. 2005. Árboles nativos de Chile. Guía de reconocimiento. Edición 4. Marisa Cuneo Ediciones, Valdivia, Chile. 136p.
  • Hoffmann, Adriana. 1998. Flora Silvestre de Chile, Zona Central. Edición 4. Fundación Claudio Gay, Santiago. 254p.
  • Rodríguez, R. & Quezada, M. 2003. Fagaceae. En C. Marticorena y R. Rodríguez [eds.], Flora de Chile Vol. 2(2), pp 64-76. Universidad de Concepción, Concepción.

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