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Tree to 35 m, to 2 m dbh. Bark greyish, breaking into plates with age. Branchlets densely covered in short hairs. Leaves evergreen, leathery, 2–4 × 1.6–2.5 cm, ovate to lanceolate with an uneven base, upper surface glabrous, lower surface with distinct venation, four to six secondary veins on each side of the midrib, margins irregularly and minutely serrate, apex acute; petiole 0.2–0.7 cm long; stipules membranous and caducous. Staminate flowers in closely knit groups of three and with a short peduncle; stamens five to eight. Pistillate flowers in groups of three to five; cupule sessile, 0.2–0.4 cm long, four-valved and covered with softly hairy scales. Nuts three, winged. Flowering September to November, fruiting March to May (Chile). Rodríguez R. et al. 1983. Distribution ARGENTINA (?); CHILE: Aisén and Los Lagos Regions. Habitat Occurs in perhumid forest in the coastal mountain range and the Andes up to 1000 m asl. USDA Hardiness Zone 8. Conservation status Not evaluated. Illustration Rodríguez R. et al. 1983; NT535. Cross-references B11, S345, K327.
Nothofagus nitida is one of the most attractive species in the genus, with stiff, neatly toothed glossy leaves, held regularly on the shoots, that have the added merit of flushing red-bronze. When young it is particularly elegant, but it develops into a substantial tree that needs to be given adequate space. The largest recorded in the British Isles – a specimen at Royal Holloway College, Surrey – was measured at 18 m (48 cm dbh) by Owen Johnson in 2001 (TROBI). According to Clarke (1988), the species was not introduced until 1976 when the Forestry Commission added it to its trials. If the Royal Holloway College tree, and another of 16 m at Benmore in 1994 (TROBI), are from this introduction then it must be very fast-growing indeed. More recently, collections have been made by teams from Edinburgh, from which specimens are growing well in Scottish gardens, and there have been commercial importations also, but this is not a common tree and should certainly be planted more widely.