Colin Mills, compiler of the Hortus Camdenensis, died in late November 2012 after a short illness. As he always considered the Hortus his legacy, it is his family's intention to keep the site running in perpetuity. It will not, however, be updated in the near future.

Nothofagus cunninghamii Oerst.

Frost hardy, conical, evergreen tree with slender, downy shoots and roughly ovate, blunt-toothed leaves, to 2cm long, bronze-red in summer when young.  To 12m, but much larger in the wild.  [RHSE, Hortus, Hilliers’].

Horticultural & Botanical History

‘The Southern Beech which forms the subject of our illustration is that which in Tasmania is spoken of as the “Myrtle-tree.”  In Tasmania it forms much of the evergreen forest, and occurs on the mountains up to an elevation of 4,000 feet, but towards their summits becomes much dwarfed.  It is also met with in various localities in south-eastern Australia.  Though not hardy at Kew, and though rarely cultivated at all, N. Cunninghamii makes an elegant small tree in the milder parts of the British Isles. There are fine specimens in Ireland at Fota, near Queenstown, and at Kilmadurragh, while there is a well-known example in the Royal demesne at Osborne, Isle of Wight.  It has also lived out of doors in parts of Surrey and Sussex.  The date of its first introduction to Europe is uncertain, but the tree at Fota, which is now nearly fifty feet in height, is believed to have been planted half-a-century ago.’  [BM t.8584/1914].

‘That Fagus Cunninghamii, the beautiful little Van Diemen’s Land Evergreen Beech, is hardy up to the latitude of London we now hold to be perfectly well ascertained’.  [Gard. Chron. 1854].  Introduced to Britain in 1843.  [JD].

History at Camden Park

Listed in the 1850 and 1857 catalogues only [T.445/1850].  Macarthur probably obtained his plants from Tasmania from one of his many contacts there.  He imported a number of Tasmanian natives at this time.


Nothofagus species are sometimes placed in their own family, Nothofagaceae.

Published Mar 04, 2009 - 03:45 PM | Last updated Jul 21, 2010 - 02:43 PM

Illustrated are the small toothed leaves and details of flower parts.  Curtis's Botanical Magazine t.8584, 1914.

Nothofagus cunninghamii Oerst. | BM t.8584/1914 | BHL

Family Fagaceae
Region of origin

Victoria, Tasmania

  • Fagus cunninghamii Hook.

Common Name

Southern beech, Myrtle beech

Name in the Camden Park Record

Fagus Cunninghamii 

Confidence level high