Fuscospora solandri var. solandri is commonly called Black Beech. It is endemic to New Zealand growing at lower altitudes than Fuscospora solandri var. cliffortioides (Mountain Beech). At times Beech dominate the canopy, forming its own distinctive forest type. Often found in hardwood forest plant communities that include but are not limited to Aristotelia serrata, Pittosporum eugenioides, Pseudopanax arboreus, Podocarpus totara and Fuscospora cliffortioides among others.
Known as black beech because it is prone to a sooty mould that covers the trunk and branches as a result of scale insect infestation. The insect secretes honeydew, feeding the mould and attracting birds and bees. This is common and does not appear to harm the tree. The small shiny oval-shaped leaves deepen in colour during the winter and are evergreen. It is rather large and not suited to residential areas, growing to 25m.
For more information on plant communities, we recommend DOC’s publication Native Plant Communities of the Canterbury Plains.
Differs from mountain beech by the oblong leaves with obtuse apices and obvious leaf venation. Although the two are closely allied and readily form hybrids, they are distinct species.
Formally known as Nothofagus solandri var solandri.