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This taxon is a hybrid between N. obliqua and N. glauca. It has reddish brown inner bark and greyish red or dark brown outer bark (soft or hard). The branchlets have few or no short hairs and few or many long hairs, and the leaves are dark green and have a cuneate or rounded base. In comparison, N. obliqua has brown inner bark and hard, dark brown outer bark, branchlets largely glabrous, leaves dark green with a cuneate or rounded base; N. glauca has reddish inner bark and soft, greyish red outer bark, branchlets densely pubescent, leaves glaucous green with a cordate or truncate base. Donoso & Landrum 1979. Distribution CHILE: in any area where the ranges of the two parent species overlap. USDA Hardiness Zone 8. Illustration Rodríguez R. et al. 1983; NT16, NT534. Cross-references B16, S347, K327.
The success of Nothofagus ×leonii in Forestry Commission trials started in 1979 gained it a brief mention in Clarke (1988), but no expanded account of its horticultural merit has ever been published. As might be expected from its parentage it is a very handsome tree, and grows rapidly into a good specimen. The best in the United Kingdom is a magnificent tree in the Brentry area of the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens, received from the Forestry Commission in 1982, measured at 21.5 m (40 cm dbh) in 2006 (Sir Harold Hillier Gardens database), which has a columnar trunk supporting a dense canopy. A younger specimen grown from David Rae and Peter Baxter’s collection (no. 22) in Chile in 1996 is doing very well on an open hillside at Benmore. It is clear that this hybrid will flourish in most parts of the British Isles and by extension the coastal margins of Europe and the Pacific Northwest. Some variability can be expected, and it is possible that some trees in cultivation are second-generation seedlings from wild-origin primary hybrids, and therefore may show grandparental characteristics in different proportions. It is now most likely to occur from cultivated seed, as its parent N. alessandrii is endangered by habitat loss in the wild.