Fuscospora solandri


solandri: Named after Daniel Carlsson Solander (19 February 1733 - 13 May 1782) who was a Swedish naturalist and an apostle of Carl Linnaeus.

Common Name(s)

Black beech

Current Conservation Status

2012 - Not Threatened

Conservation status of New Zealand indigenous vascular plants, 2012
The conservation status of all known New Zealand vascular plant taxa at the rank of species and below were reassessed in 2012 using the New Zealand Threat Classification System (NZTCS). This report includes a statistical summary and brief notes on changes since 2009 and replaces all previous NZTCS lists for vascular plants. Authors: Peter J. de Lange, Jeremy R. Rolfe, Paul D. Champion, Shannel P. Courtney, Peter B. Heenan, John W. Barkla, Ewen K. Cameron, David A. Norton and Rodney A. Hitchmough. File size: 792KB

Previous Conservation Status

2009 - Not Threatened
2004 - Not Threatened


Fuscospora solandri (Hook.f.) Heenan et Smissen



Brief Description

Forest canopy tree in lowland dry areas with a dark sooty trunk bearing small leathery leaves arranged along the twig and that are pale underneath and with slightly incurved margins. Leaves 10-15mm long, with a rounded tip. Flowers and fruits inconspicuous, but these and new leaf growth can change a trees colour.

Flora Category

Vascular - Native

NVS Species Code


The National Vegetation Survey (NVS) Databank is a physical archive and electronic databank containing records of over 94,000 vegetation survey plots - including data from over 19,000 permanent plots. NVS maintains a standard set of species code abbreviations that correspond to standard scientific plant names from the Ngä Tipu o Aotearoa - New Zealand Plants database.

Structural Class

Dicotyledonous Trees & Shrubs


Fagus solandri Hook.f., Nothofagus solandri (Hook. f.) Oerst. var. solandri, Nothofagus solandri (Hook.f.) Oerst.


Endemic. North, South Islands. Very rare north of the Central Volcanic Plateau and East Cape. Little Barrier Island appears to be the current northern limit.


Lowland to montane forest. At times the canopy dominant and forming its own distinctive forest type.


Tree up to 25 m tall, wood pinkish to yellowish when fresh, often with darker patches. Bark rough, furrowed, charcoal black. Trunk 1 m or more diam. Branches numerous, stout, spreading, "pagodaform". Petioles 1-2 mm. Leaves 10-15 x 5-10 mm, narrow- to elliptic-oblong, obtuse, obliquely cuneate at base, apex often apiculate, leathery, glabrous, dark green above, undersides clad in greyish white tomentum, venation distinct on both surfaces. Domatia absent. Male inflorescences 1-4 per branchlet, on short sparsely pubescent peduncles; flowers 1-2, sessile. Perianth broadly-campanulate, 2 x 3 mm, shallowly and obtusely 4-5-lobed; stamens 8-17, anthers 2-3 mm long, dark red. Female inflorescences ovoid, 1-2 per branchlet, pubescent to pilose hairy, sessile, flowers 1-3. Lateral flowers trimerous, terminal ones dimerous; stigmas clavate. Cupule 6-7 mm, glabrous or pubescent, 3-partite. Nuts up to 7 mm long, wings broad at base, narrowed to apex.

Similar Taxa

Differs from mountain beech (Fucospora cliffortioides) by the oblong leaves with obtuse apices, by the obvious leaf venation and sparsely hairy ovary. Although closely allied to mountain beech and readily forming hybrids with it both beeches shoudl be regarded as distinct species not varieties of each other.


September - December

Flower Colours

Red / Pink


November - April

Propagation Technique

Easy from fresh seed, Cuttings are very difficult to strike. Young plants are very quick growing but do best in cool climates.


Not Threatened

Chromosome No.

2n = 26

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Where To Buy

Commonly cultivated in suitable climates. Frequently available from commercial nurseries.

Ecological importance

Secondary beech host for yellow mistletoe (Alepis flavida) and red mistletoe (Peraxilla tetrapetala).


Although many botanists have tended to regard Fuscospora cliffortioides as a variety of black beech (F. solandri), or even disregard it altogether, recent DNA data combined with phylogenetic mapping of character states confirm the view of Molloy et al. (1999) that F. cliffortioides it is a distinct species (see Heenan & Smissen 2013). Nevertheless field recognition is often hampered by the fact that both F. cliffortioides and F. solandri hybridise, and in some places the hybrids may form complex introgressive hybrid swarms. In this situations it is understandable that field botanists in particular have interpreted 'hybrid swarms' as evidence of a cline between both 'species' resulting in the interpretation of either the one species (F. solandri) or two varieties.


P.J. de Lange (1 January 2006). Description adapted from Allan (1961)

References and further reading

Allan, H.H. 1961: Flora of New Zealand. Vol. I. Wellington, Government Printer.

Anonymous. 1957. Construction of key for the genus Nothofagus. Auckland Botanical Society Journal,   14: 2-3.

Heenan, P.B.; Smissen, R.D. 2013: Revised circumscription of Nothofagus and recognition of the segregate genera Fuscospora, Lophozonia, and Trisyngyne (Nothofagaceae). Phytotaxa 146: 1-31. http://dx.doi.org/10.11646/phytotaxa.146.1.1

Molloy, B.P.J.; de Lange, P.J.; Clarkson, B.D. 1999: Coprosma pedicellata (Rubiaceae), a new species from New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Botany 37: 383-397.

This page last updated on 2 Jan 2014