There are currently no active references in this article.
An evergreen tree 60 to 80 ft (occasionally 100 ft) high in the wild state, with a trunk 6 to 16 ft in girth and silvery white when young; young shoots clothed with yellowish-brown down. Leaves roundish ovate to diamond-shaped, broadly wedge-shaped at the base, rounded or pointed at the apex, doubly round-toothed, 1⁄3 to 5⁄8 in. long, 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 in. wide, glabrous on both surfaces except for one or two pits in the blade near the base beneath, which are lined with brown hairs; stalk 1⁄16 in. long, downy. Male flowers solitary. Husks 1⁄4 to 3⁄8 in. long, with four or five rows of gland-tipped appendages on each valve. Nutlets three, their wings prolonged at the apex and ending in gland-tipped points.
Native of New Zealand on both islands, up to 3,500 ft above sea-level. It is allied to N. cunninghamii, but that species has singly (not doubly) toothed leaves, and the curious hairy pits seen in N. menziesii are absent. Also in N. cunninghamii the wings of the nutlets are not prolonged at the apex.
Although not a success at Kew, N. menziesii is hardy enough in mid-Sussex in a sheltered position, as is shown by the tree at Nymans, which was planted before 1917 and measures 57 × 61⁄4 ft (1970). Others are: Caerhays, Cornwall, 62 × 83⁄4 ft at 1 ft, dividing into five stems at 3 ft (1971) and another of 64 × 63⁄4 ft (1971); Trewithen, Cornwall, 54 × 33⁄4 ft (1971); Galloway House, Wigtons., a bush 40 ft high (1967); Castlewellan, Co. Down, N. Ireland, 30 × 23⁄4 ft (1966); Mount Usher, Co. Wicklow, Eire, 39 × 31⁄4 ft at 3 ft (1966).
Although some specimens of N. menziesii in this country have a whitish bark, as is said to be usual in young trees in New Zealand, they more commonly have a bark resembling that of the common gean, dark in colour with horizontal bands of lenticels.
specimens: Nymans, Sussex, 75 × 71⁄4 ft (1985); Tregrehan, Cornwall, 55 × 5 + 31⁄4 ft (1979); Caerhays, Cornwall, 62 × 83⁄4 ft at 1 ft, dividing into five stems at 3 ft, and another of 64 × 63⁄4 ft (1971); Trewithen, Cornwall, 60 × 5 ft (1985); Mount Usher, Co. Wicklow, Eire, 40 × 4 + 3 ft (1975).
A semi-evergreen tree intermediate in characters between its parents. Bark cherry-like, purple-brown, with slender horizontal bands of pale lenticels, becoming grey and vertically fissured at the base. Young shoots slender, tomentose. Leaves thinly leathery, rhombic-ovate, to 2.5 1.3 cm (on vigorous shoots to 3 1.5 cm), glossy green and glabrous above, pale blue-green and glabrous beneath except for sparse hairs along the midrib, secondary veins four to six on each side of the midrib, sharply double-toothed or even shallowly lobed, base entire, broadly cuneate and sometimes slightly unequal; petiole tomentose, 3 mm. A. Coombes, pers. comm. 2007. Distribution Only in cultivation. USDA Hardiness Zone 8.
This unique hybrid between an evergreen species from New Zealand (N. menziesii) and a deciduous one from Chile (N. obliqua) arose in cultivation in the United Kingdom, the earliest record being from Weston Park on the Shropshire/Staffordshire border (Wigston 1979). It remains rare in cultivation, with only a few specimens recorded in the major British collections, but it is capable of achieving good stature quite rapidly; Owen Johnson has measured trees of 15 m at Kew (2001) and 16 m at Wakehurst Place (2005) (TROBI). At the Hillier Gardens two specimens were received from the Forestry Commission at Alice Holt in 1982 (without further information), of which the survivor had reached 12.5 m (38 cm dbh) in 2007 (A. Coombes, pers. comm. 2007). Allen Coombes, to whom we are indebted for the description of this tree, reported in early December 2007 that the tree was still in full leaf at that time, though a few leaves were turning yellow. He has not observed flowers or fruit. The fine, straight Kew specimen was half-bare in January 2008, and many of the remaining leaves were yellowish. The strongly double-toothed or weakly lobed margins give the leaf a very distinctive outline.