Hard beech

June 6, 2017

Beech forests have an ethereal quality that is quite distinct from most forests in the north of our country. Despite being mostly associated with colder, southern climes (where beech forests dominate large areas), one species of beech extends almost to the top of mainland New Zealand (including within the wider Auckland region).

Only a small number of trees remain in the Waitakeres, mostly in the vicinity of one north-facing valley that runs down towards the suburb of Glen Eden. During the long weekend, I went to see one particularly beautiful grove of hard beech (Fuscospora truncata) nestled amidst kauri and podocarp/broadleaf forests in this valley system.

The assemblage of species that accompanied the hard beech and kauri (a species with which this beech frequently grows in the north) included many common kauri associates such as toru (Toronia toru) and kohurangi (Brachyglottis kirkii var. angustior).

Two shrubs of the latter species were in flower at the time, exhibiting the spectacular display of large, pure white flowerheads that adorn the canopy of many of our forest trees (in situations where kohurangi grows as an epiphyte).