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or Silver beech
is a tree
A tree is a perennial woody plant. It is most often defined as a woody plant that has many secondary branches supported clear of the ground on a single main stem or trunk with clear apical dominance. A minimum height specification at maturity is cited by some authors, varying from 3 m to...
of the Nothofagus
Nothofagus, also known as the southern beeches, is a genus of 35 species of trees and shrubs native to the temperate oceanic to tropical Southern Hemisphere in southern South America and Australasia...
or southern beech genus endemic to New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...
. Its common name probably comes from the fact that its bark is whitish in colour, particularly in younger specimens. It is found from Thames southwards in the North Island
The North Island is one of the two main islands of New Zealand, separated from the much less populous South Island by Cook Strait. The island is in area, making it the world's 14th-largest island...
(except Mount Taranaki/Egmont), and throughout the South Island
The South Island is the larger of the two major islands of New Zealand, the other being the more populous North Island. It is bordered to the north by Cook Strait, to the west by the Tasman Sea, to the south and east by the Pacific Ocean...
. Silver beech is a forest tree up to 30 m tall. The trunk, which is often buttressed, may be up to 2 m in diameter. The leaves
A leaf is an organ of a vascular plant, as defined in botanical terms, and in particular in plant morphology. Foliage is a mass noun that refers to leaves as a feature of plants....
are small, thick and almost round in shape, 6 to 15 mm long and 5 to 15 mm wide with rounded teeth which usually occur in pairs, 1 or 2 hair fringed domatia
Domatia are tiny chambers produced by plants that house arthropods.Domatia differ from galls in that they are produced by the plant rather than being induced by their inhabitants...
are found on the underside of each leaf. Its Māori
Māori or te reo Māori , commonly te reo , is the language of the indigenous population of New Zealand, the Māori. It has the status of an official language in New Zealand...
name is Tāwhai
. It grows from low altitudes to the mountains.
Cultivation and uses
The wood is hard and is not durable outdoors and is used for furniture. The bark contains a black dye and tannin which is used for tanning leather.