Nothofagus dombeyi (Mirb.)Oerst

Dombey's beech, Coigue

Family: Nothofagaceae
54º 34.912N
5º 55.828W

The tree tag number relates to the black tree-maintenance tags, usually fixed on the trunk, 2 to 3m above ground level.

This tree was previously identified as N. dombeyi but the identification was changed to Nothofagus menziesii following discussions with the Irish Tree Society on their visit to the Botanic Gardens in 2023. We we are grateful to them for help with this and other identifications.

2024 Things are not as clear cut as they seem. Further investigation now convinces us that this is indeed Nothofagus dombeyi. The leaf shape is much more like that of N. dombeyi and the leaves lack the domatia characteristic of N. menziesii. The photographs below show the comparative leaf shape and and domatia of the N. menziesii.

Domatia (from domus a house) are structures produced by the tree to provide homes for mites that protect the tree from attack by herbivorous insects. They are produced by the tree even in the absence of the mites. Compare this with structures that insects induce in the plants by injecting hormones; for examples the galls on oak trees.

The silver beech grows primarily in the sub-tropical zone in North and South Island New Zealand, but appear to be hardy in Ireland having survived the severe winter frosts of 2009 and 2010.

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.