Beilschmiedia miersii (Gay) Kosterm.

Common names

Belloto del Norte

Article sources

New Trees

Tree to 25 m, 0.8 m dbh. Bark greyish, flaking in small pieces to reveal a reddish underlayer. Branchlets densely covered with erect curly or wavy hairs, though density decreasing with age. Leaf buds densely pubescent with erect curly hairs. Leaves evergreen, camphor-scented when crushed, opposite, (2.5–)5–12 × 1.5–6.5 cm, leathery, ovate, upper surface shiny, glabrous and pale green with a sunken midrib, lower surface glaucous and glabrous, (5–)7–8(–10) secondary veins on each side of the midrib, margins entire, apex obtuse to rounded; petiole 0.3–1 cm long, pubescent with erect curly or wavy hairs. Inflorescences axillary, densely pubescent with erect curly hairs, paniculate with few branches, 2–6(–9) cm long; 10–35 flowers per inflorescence. Flowers 3-merous and 0.25–0.3 cm long; tepals densely pubescent with curly hairs outside and long, straight hairs inside, stamens nine. Fruit an ellipsoid drupe, 4 × 2–3 cm, mottled yellow then brown. Flowering January to June and October to November, fruiting March to April (Chile). Rodríguez R. et al. 1983, Nishida 1999. Distribution CHILE: Cachapoal and Quillota Provinces. Habitat In open, humid forest or semi-arid vegetation between 120 and 1200 m asl. USDA Hardiness Zone 8–9. Conservation status Not evaluated (IUCN). Vulnerable (Gardner et al. 2006). The only protected population is in the La Campana National Park and these trees are currently threatened by introduced livestock, which eat the fruits and seedlings (Henríquez & Simonetti 2001). Illustration Rodríguez R. et al. 1983, Gardner et al. 2006; NT19, NT161.

Beilschmiedia miersii is a statuesque large tree, threatened in Chile by deforestation, habitat desiccation and grazing. The majority of surviving trees grow in ravine bottoms where there is plenty of moisture and these factors are least problematic. Seed has been collected on several occasions by botanists from Edinburgh, working in collaboration with their Chilean colleagues to develop conservation protocols and experiment with artificial propagation and replanting (Gardner et al. 2006). Some seedlings have been planted at Edinburgh and Logan, but at Edinburgh they are slow-growing, plants from the 1996 collection (ICE 7) being only 110 cm tall in 2005. At Tregrehan, however, it is doing well, the largest specimen (grown from Gardner & Knees 5698, collected in 1993) being now over 3 m, with a straight stem. At this stage the bark is still green. Abundant moisture is needed for success, and plants will die from extended periods of drought (M. Gardner, pers. comm. 2006).

The fruit and tiny flowers of Beilschmiedia miersii. Image M. Gardner.

Genus

Beilschmiedia

Other species in the genus