Scientific Name:
Fuscospora truncata (Colenso) Heenan & Smissen, Phytotaxa 146: 14 (2013)
  • Fagus truncata Colenso, Trans. & Proc. New Zealand Inst. 31: 280 (1899)
  • Nothofagus truncata (Colenso) Cockayne, New Zealand State Forest Bull., 21 (1926)
Lectotype (designated by Allan 1961): New Zealand. Ruahine Mountain-range, October 1898, H. Hill s.n. (WELT SP035538)
Named from Latin truncatus (lopped), a reference to the blunt leaf-lamina apex
Vernacular Name(s):
hard beech; tāwhairaunui; tāwhairauriki

Large tree, 24–30(–36) m high; trunk straight and cylindrical, 0.6–1.2(–1.8) m diameter, basal flanges and root buttresses often developed; crown massive, spreading. Young branchlets terete, grooved, red to red-brown, with whitish pubescence. Stipules caducous, peltate, entire or unevenly bilobed, 3.5–8.0 mm long, narrow-oblanceolate to linear-oblong. Leaf lamina 13.0–43 × 8–30 mm, broadly ovate to sub-orbicular, coriaceous, veins distinct; domatia absent; adaxially glossy green, glabrescent; abaxially lighter glossy green, glabrescent; margin coarsely toothed, teeth sub-acute to obtuse, shortly ciliate in sinuses; apex obtuse to truncate; base cuneate; petiole 2.5–4 mm long, pubescent. Staminate inflorescences, 4–7/branchlet, on peduncles 1.5–7.5 mm long; 1–3 flowers/dichasium, sessile or on short pedicels to 1.0 mm long; perianth campanulate sometimes asymmetic, 2.5–4.5 mm long, hairy, stramineous, 4 or 5 prominent obtuse to acute lobes, margin ciliate. Stamens 9–14; filaments 3.0–4.5 mm long, hairy; anthers 2.0–3.5 mm long, glabrous to sparsely hairy, red, yellow or dark orange. Pistillate inflorescences 2–5/branchlet, sessile; dichasium ovoid with 3 sessile flowers/cupule, trimerous and dimerous, sparsely hairy. Mature cupule 7–9 mm long; valves 4, broadly triangular, coriaceous, resinous, glabrous to strigulose, apex acute to subacute; lamellae 3/valve, subacute to obtuse. Nut 7.5–10 × 4–6.5 mm, triquetrous or lenticular, sparsely hairy to hairy, red-brown to brown.

Bark and wood: Bark on young trees smooth, thin and ash-grey; bark on old trees thick, fibrous, scaled and fissured, dark slate-grey to almost black. Sapwood light yellow-brown when fresh; heartwood light pink to light brown when fresh.

Juvenile plants: Leaves often slightly smaller than adult leaves, ovate to broad ovate, more coarsely toothed, often red, brown, or red speckled.


Most similar to Fuscospora fusca, distinguished from that species by coriaceous leaves with blunt teeth that are barely twisted and also with the lamina tapering equally to the base whereas F. fusca has leaves with apiculate lamina teeth that are noticeably twisted and with an oblique lamina base. Also, hard beech never has domatia whereas red beech leaves commonly have 1 or 2 fringed domatia in the axils of the midrib and lower secondary veins on the abaxial side of the lamina. Hard beech often, but not always, has truncate leaf apices.


North Island: North Auckland (isolated populations near Kaitaia, Omahuta, Waitakere Range, east coast), South Auckland (Coromandel, Kaimai Ranges, Mamaku Plateau, Raukūmara Range, Urewera National Park), Taranaki (northern Taranaki), Wellington (Tararua, Rimutaka and Aorangi Ranges, Wairarapa).

South Island: Nelson, Marlborough, Westland (south to the Taramakau River and small isolated populations at Jackson Bay in South Westland).


Altitudinal range, sea-level–941 m a.s.l. (at Mt Honokawa, Raukūmara Range). Lowland to montane forest. Mostly found in association with other tree species in mixed broadleaf-conifer forests and with other beech species; forming localised pure stands on favourable sites within the forest, mostly on ridge crests, knolls, and steep slopes of a warm northerly aspect.

Indigenous (Endemic)

Flowering: Sep.–Dec. (mast seeding)

Cockayne, L. 1926: Monograph on the New Zealand beech forests. Part 1. The ecology of the forests and taxonomy of the beeches. In: New Zealand State Forest Bulletin. Vol. 4. Government Printer, Wellington. 71 pp.
Colenso, W. 1899: Phænogams: A description of a few more newly discovered indigenous plants; being a further contribution towards the making known the botany of New Zealand. Transactions and Proceedings of the New Zealand Institute 31: 266–281.
de Lange, P.J.; Rolfe, J.R.; Barkla J.W.; Courtney, S.P.; Champion, P.D.; Perrie, L.R.; Beadel, S.N.; Ford, K.A.; Breitwieser, I.; Schönberger, I.; Hindmarsh-Walls, R.; Heenan, P.B.; Ladley, K. 2018: Conservation status of New Zealand indigenous vascular plants, 2017. New Zealand Threat Classification Series. No. 22. [Not Threatened]
de Lange, P.J.; Rolfe, J.R.; Champion, P.D.; Courtney, S.P.; Heenan, P.B.; Barkla, J.W.; Cameron, E.K.; Norton, D.A.; Hitchmough, R.A. 2013: Conservation status of New Zealand indigenous vascular plants, 2012. New Zealand Threat Classification Series 3. Department of Conservation, Wellington. [as Nothofagus truncata (Colenso) Cockayne] [Not Threatened]
Haase, P. 1992: Isozyme variability and biogeography of Nothofagus truncata (Fagaceae). New Zealand Journal of Botany 30: 315–328.
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): 1–31.
Poole, A.L. 1987: Southern Beeches. Science Information Publishing Centre, DSIR, Wellington.
Smissen, R.D.; Morse, C.W.; Prada, D.; Ramón-Laca, A.; Richardson, S.J. 2012: Characterisation of seven polymorphic microsatellites for Nothofagus subgenus Fuscospora from New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Botany 50(2): 227–231.
Smissen, R.D.; Richardson, S.J.; Morse, C.W.; Heenan, P.B. 2014: Relationships, gene flow and species boundaries among New Zealand Fuscospora (Nothofagaceae: southern beech). New Zealand Journal of Botany 52(4): 389–406.
Wardle, J. 1984: The New Zealand Beeches. Ecology, Utilisation and Management. New Zealand Forest Service. Caxton Press, Christchurch, New Zealand.
Wilcox, M.D.; Ledgard, N.J. 1983: Provenance variation in the New Zealand species of Nothofagus. New Zealand Journal of Ecology 6: 19–31.