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.
|Young Dombey's Southern Beech in Belfast Botanic Gardens||Mature Dombey's beech in Rowallane Gardens (National Trust)|
|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 www.chileflora.com
Photos taken in Belfast Botanic Gardens in 2011. Copyright: Friends of Belfast Botanic Gardens.
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