Nothofagus dombeyi (Mirbel) Blume

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Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles

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'Nothofagus dombeyi' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online ( Accessed 2020-08-05.


Common Names

  • Coigüe


  • Fagus dombeyi Mirbel


A collection of preserved plant specimens; also the building in which such specimens are housed.
Lance-shaped; broadest in middle tapering to point.
Egg-shaped; broadest towards the stem.
Diamond-shaped. rhomboid Diamond-shaped solid.


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Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles

Recommended citation
'Nothofagus dombeyi' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online ( Accessed 2020-08-05.

An evergreen tree of very large size; young shoots clothed with very minute down. Leaves of firm texture, ovate or ovate-lanceolate, rounded or broadly wedge-shaped, pointed, finely and unevenly toothed, 34 to 112 in. long, 38 to 58 in. wide, dark glossy green above, paler bright green beneath, sometimes specked when older with minute blackish glands on both surfaces, but more densely beneath; chief veins inconspicuous; stalk 112 in. long. Male flowers mostly in threes; stamens bright red. Valves of husk with short, tooth-like appendages; nutlets three.

Native of Chile and Argentina. It is a common and characteristic tree of the Chilean forests in their most developed form, and the most beautiful, assuming when old a cedar-like habit. In the northern part of its range it often occurs with one or other of the two main deciduous species – N. obliqua and N. procera – and occasionally all three can be found growing in the same stand. But it ranges farther to the south than either (to about 46° S.).

N. dombeyi was introduced to Britain by F. R. S. Balfour of Dawyck, who presented a large quantity of seeds to Kew in 1916. Of these only four germinated, but thanks to later importations, and the ease with which plants can be raised from cuttings, the species is now well established in cultivation. It has proved to be scarcely less hardy than N. betuloides, though it may suffer slight damage in severe winters.

As the following statistics show, N. dombeyi is well represented in southern England, though it does not attain such a large size as in the Atlantic zone, where the rainfall is higher and the climate more equable: Kew, near the Victoria Gate, pl. 1922, 45 × 334 ft (1967), and several younger trees elsewhere in the collection; Winkworth Arboretum, Surrey, pl. 1937, 45 × 412 ft (1969); The Grange, Benenden, Kent, pl. 1922, 56 × 434 ft (1972); Borde Hill, Sussex, by The Tolls, 59 × 312 ft (1968); Nymans, Sussex, 67 × 512 ft (1970); Little Kingsmill Grange, Bucks, 58 × 312 ft (1968); Pylewell Hall, Hants, 57 × 314 ft (1970); Minterne, Dorset, 62 × 6 ft (1967); Sidbury Manor, Devon, 57 × 5 ft (1959); Caerhays, Cornwall, 65 × 512 ft (1965); Trewithen, Cornwall, 60 × 6 ft (1971); Bodnant, Denbigh, 58 × 814 ft at 1 ft (1966); Muncaster Castle, Cumb., four trees, the largest 75 × 6 ft (1971); Castle Kennedy, Wigtons., 70 × 712 ft (1967); Rowallane, Co. Down, 66 × 714 ft and 55 × 6 ft (1966). The following were measured in Eire in 1966: Mount Usher, Co. Wicklow, 72 × 812 ft; Powerscourt, Co. Wicklow, 58 × 4 ft; Headfort, Co. Meath, 60 × 812 ft.

N. nitida (Phil.) Krasser Fagus nitida Phil. – This species, allied to N. betuloides and N. dombeyi, is little known and probably not in cultivation. It is an evergreen with coarsely toothed leaves, which are triangular-ovate or rhombic, up to 138 in. long and 1 in. wide. The male flowers are borne in threes as in N. dombeyi, but are said to have fewer stamens. It occurs in the coastal region of Chile from as far north as the Cordillera Pelada near Valdivia to at least as far south as Capo Tres Montes at the northern end of the Golfo de Penas, and is common on the coast of Chiloe Island. A peculiarity of this species is the clear brown colour of the leaves in herbarium specimens.

From the Supplement (Vol. V)

specimens: Kew, near Victoria Gate, pl. 1922, 58 × 412 + 234 ft (1979); Winkworth Arboretum, Godalming, Surrey, pl. 1937, 92 × 712 ft (1983); The Grange, Benenden, Kent, pl. 1922, 72 × 534 ft (1981); Sandling Park, Kent, 80 × 534 ft (1984); Knightshayes, Devon, 60 × 612 ft (1984); Muncaster Castle, Cumb., 115 × 9 ft, 118 × 734 ft and 92 × 734 ft (1984); Bodnant, Gwyn., 82 × 1214 ft at 2 ft (1981); Rowallane, Co. Down, 70 × 8 ft and 50 × 714 ft (1976); Ballywalter, Co. Down, 85 × 814 ft (1982); Mount Usher, Co. Wicklow, Eire, pl. 1928, 87 × 1012 ft and 87 × 1034 ft (1975); Powerscourt, Co. Wicklow, Eire, 85 × 512 ft (1980).

N. nitida – This species was introduced in 1976 (see further below under N. obliqua). It is proving reasonably hardy, one plant at Alice Holt being over 2.5 metres tall; the other has died back to about 1.5 metres (1986). Elsewhere the best survival rate in Forestry Commission plantings has been in the Quantock trial, where the mean height is almost 4 metres (autumn 1985).


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