Popp. & Endl.
Nothofagus alpina, also called rauli or raulí beech (in Mapuche language) is a species of plant in the Nothofagaceae family. A deciduous tree, it grows in Chile and Argentina, it reaches 50 m (160 ft) height and more than 2 meters (6.5 feet) in diameter. Its distribution goes from 35 to 42° South latitude. It is found on the Andes. It tolerates low temperatures and heavy winds. It has a straight and cylindrical trunk with grey bark. N. alpina was proposed to be renamed Lophozonia alpina in 2013.
Monoecious and leafy. Alternate leaves, petioles 3 to 12 mm long, oblong ovate to lanceolate ovate, with glands and hairs regularly distributed, undulate margins and softly serrated. Lamina 4 to 12 x 2,5 to 5 cm, pinnate veins, pilose and very notorious, mostly below the leaf, new borne green shoots pubescent with brown felt-like hairs.
Flowers little unisexual: male in clusters of 3 flowers, briefly pedicellate, numerous stamens, male flowers disposed in 3 inflorescences supported by a peduncle about 1 cm long.
Fruit made up by a cupule of 4 narrow valves, in its interior 2 to 3 little yellowish nuts 6 mm long, a little hairy, being the two lower triangular, tri-winged, and the flat internal, bi-winged.
Raulí wood is pinkish with brown-reddish color and has a very fine grain. It is relatively easy to work and of medium weight. It is used in furniture, barrels for very fine Chilean wines, doors, veneers, shingles and floors. It has been introduced as ornamental in Great Britain and it grows well in Western Scotland, where it gets the necessary rainfall for its good growth; minimum 750 mm (30 in). It is very promising as a forestry tree in Western Great Britain and regenerates easily after coppicing.
Frost hardiness study in Britain
Provenance sources from different places from its natural environment were tested in cultivation at the Bush estate in Scotland. Seedlots of Lophozonia (then Nothofagus) alpina and Lophozonia (then Nothofagus) obliqua were tested. The results of the testing in relation to the sources were reported as:
- Ñuble in Chile. This was the most equatorial source and these seedlots proved to be the most susceptible to frost.
- Neuquen in Argentina. These seedlots, as well as those gathered from mature trees growing in Britain with origins from Malleco in Chile were the most hardy. Overall, Lophozonia alpina performed better than Lophozonia obliqua.
Past temperature records for Britain suggest that seedlots run a high risk of suffering severe frost damage in all but mild coastal regions, and that spring and autumn frosts may be more damaging than winter frosts. The Lophozonia alpina leaves grow down towards the ground.
- N. alpina hybridises with Roble (Nothofagus obliqua) to form the hybrid species Nothofagus ×dodecaphleps.
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- Bean. W. 1981 Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement. Murray.
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