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An evergreen tree up to 100 ft high in the wild, occasionally taller; young twigs covered with brownish down. Leaves glossy dark green, ovate-lanceolate to ovate, 11⁄2 to 3 in. long, 3⁄4 to 11⁄2 in. wide, base wedge-shaped, apex taper-pointed, margins sharply toothed, glabrous on both sides, except for some hairs on the midrib above; lateral veins prominent, in nine to fifteen pairs; petiole very short, downy.
A rare native of the rain-forests of E. Australia, with its main distribution in north-eastern New South Wales, from the headwaters of the Manning River north to the Macpherson Range, on the borders between New South Wales and Queensland. It was discovered by C. Moore, Curator of the Sydney Botanic Garden and described in 1865; introduced to Kew in 1892 and grown there in the Temperate House. Among the cultivated southern beeches it is easily distinguished by its large, finely toothed evergreen leaves recalling those of Camellia saluenensis. It is too tender to be grown outdoors in Britain except in the mildest parts, where it is represented at Caerhays, Cornwall, by two specimens, the larger measuring 52 × 23⁄4 ft (1971). Smaller trees grow in Eire at Fota, Co. Cork, and Mount Usher, Co. Wicklow.
specimens: Caerhays, Cornwall, larger of two, 59 × 3 ft (1975); Kilmacurragh, Co. Wicklow, Eire, 39 × 6 ft at 3 ft (1980).