Belfast Botanic Gardens Tree Archive

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This is one of a series of short articles about trees in the Belfast Botanic Gardens compiled by the Friends group. The tree tag number relates to the black tree maintenance tags, usually fixed on the tree trunk, 2 to 3m above ground level.
Family: Nothofagaceae
Nothofagus dombeyi (Mirb.) Oerst.
Dombey's southern beech

Black tag 290
54o 34.912N
5o 55.828W

Introduced in 1916 from South Central Andes where it may form mixed populations with the monkey puzzle tree (Araucaria araucana), this evergreen Southern Beech is vigorous and attains a considerable size in Ireland. It is rare, except in the largest gardens, and was awarded an Award of Garden Merit in 1984. A huge example may be seen in Rowallane Gardens (County Down) that was probably planted soon after its introduction into cultivation. It can eventually reach 40 metres in height. The leaves are small, dark green and shiny on the top surface and matt green and black speckled on the underside. The trees in both Belfast Botanic Gardens and Rowallane survived untouched by the severe winter frosts of 2009 and 2010. The specimen in Belfast Botanic Gardens is close to the path from the Botanic Primary School to the PEC.

Note added in 2019: This tree is suffering from problems. Much of the top has been lost and some branches are dead. It is under observation.

Nothofagus dombeyi in Belfast Botanic Gardens

Nothofagus dombeyi in Rowallane Garden

Young Dombey's Southern Beech in Belfast Botanic Gardens Mature Dombey's beech in Rowallane Gardens (National Trust)

Leaves of Nothofagus dombeyi

Bark of young Nothofagus dombeyi

Foliage of Dombey's Beech Smooth trunk of young Dombey's beech, Belfast Botanic Gardens

Additional information on the tree in its native habitat may be found at

Photos taken in Belfast Botanic Gardens in 2011. Copyright: Friends of Belfast Botanic Gardens.

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