Description: Evergreen or deciduous trees, rarely shrubs, usually monoecious; buds scaly.
Leaves alternate, simple, entire or toothed; stipules shed early.
Flowers small, unisexual, solitary or in few-flowered clusters surrounded by an involucre of bracts, axillary in leaves of the current season's growth. Male flowers commonly in reduced dichasia of 1–5 flowers; sepals commonly 6, scale-like; stamens 6–many, anthers opening by longitudinal slits. Female flowers 1–3, surrounded by a persistent involucre, at the base of the male inflorescence or from separate axils; ovary of 3 carpels united to form a compound, inferior ovary, styles distinct and as many as the carpels, loculi as many as the carpels with 2 ovules in each.
Fruit a nut, 1–3 enclosed collectively by the enlarged and hardened multibracteate involucre.
Distribution and occurrence: World: 1 genus, 35 species, Australia, New Guinea, New Caledonia, New Zealand & South America. Australia: 3 species (endemic), Qld, N.S.W., Vic., Tas.
Angiosperm Phylogeny Website (Family: Nothofagaceae, Order: Fagales)
Recent evidence supports the view that Nothofagus should be in its own family. This genus is now believed to be closer to the Betulaceae than the Fagaceae in which it is traditionally placed.
Text by G. J. Harden
|One genus in NSW: Nothofagus|