Brown Beech (Pennantia cunninghamii)


Pennantia cunninghamii, commonly known as the Brown Beech, is a beautiful and endemic rainforest tree native to Eastern Australia. The Brown Beech range stretches from Batemans Bay in southern New South Wales to Atherton, North Queensland and is found in cool temperate and warm temperate rainforests.

It is an important tree, and the grey-headed flying fox and various bird species, including brown cuckoo dove, green catbird, topknot pigeon, Wompoo fruit dove and white-headed pigeon eat the fruit. The moth Cardamyla carinentalis’s larva pupates between this species’ leaves.

Tree Height and Spread: The Brown Beech is a medium to large-sized tree that typically reaches 15 to 30 meters with a spread of 4.5 to 6 meters. Its growth habit is generally upright and spreading, forming a canopy with other rainforest tree species. The tree has a fluted trunk, elliptic or oblong leaves and white flowers.

Preferred Soil Type and pH: Pennantia cunninghamii thrives in well-drained soils with good moisture retention. It prefers fertile, loamy soils that are rich in organic matter. While it can tolerate a range of soil types, including sandy or clay soils, it performs best in soils that are slightly acidic to neutral, with a pH range of 5.5 to 6.5. Regular soil testing can help ensure the pH is optimal for healthy growth.

Climate and Environmental Requirements: This species is well-suited to thrive in temperate climates, both cool and warm, and is commonly found in southern New South Wales, as well as in higher altitudes in the Great Dividing Range in northern New South Wales and throughout Queensland. It prefers mild to cool temperatures and thrives in areas with reliable rainfall. Brown Beech is hardy in USDA zones 8 to 10 and can tolerate the occasional light frost and a rare light dusting of snowfall. It requires adequate sunlight to grow well and prefers locations with partial to total sun exposure.

Light Requirements: Pennantia cunninghamii prefers partial to full sun but can tolerate some shade, particularly in hotter, subtropical and tropical climates. However, exposure to direct sunlight promotes optimal growth and encourages the tree to produce more abundant foliage and flowers. Providing the tree with at least 4 to 6 hours of sunlight daily ensures vigorous growth and maintains its attractive form.

Watering and Fertilising: Proper watering is essential, especially during the tree’s establishment phase. The soil should be kept consistently moist but not waterlogged. Once established, the Brown Beech becomes moderately drought-tolerant and can withstand short periods of reduced water availability. However, regular watering during dry spells is recommended to maintain healthy growth.

Fertilisation is generally not required if the tree is planted in nutrient-rich soils. Consider using well-balanced, organic compost as an alternative to synthetic fertilisers to meet your fertilisation needs. Seaweed products, such as SeaSol, can also support healthy growth, especially in nutrient-poor soils. Care should be taken not to over-fertilise, as excessive nutrients can lead to imbalances and affect the tree’s overall health.

Pruning and Maintenance: Pennantia cunninghamii typically requires minimal pruning to maintain its natural form. Dead, damaged, or diseased branches can be removed to promote healthy growth and support the tree’s appearance. Pruning is best carried out during the dormant season in late winter or early spring to minimise stress on the tree.

Propagation: Propagation of the Brown Beech is primarily done through seeds. The seeds are contained within small, fleshy fruits, which mature and ripen in late summer or early fall. Seed propagation requires scarification to break dormancy and improve germination rates. Additionally, young trees can be propagated from cuttings, although success rates may vary.

Uses: Pennantia cunninghamii has several uses, including ornamental landscaping, shade, and wildlife habitat. It is valued for its attractive foliage and elegant form, which interest gardens and landscapes. Additionally, the tree provides shelter and food for various wildlife species, including birds and insects.

Pennantia cunninghamii, the Brown Beech, is a beautiful and versatile tree that adds charm and character to gardens and landscapes. It is a valued addition to diverse environments, whether grown for its ornamental value, shade, or ecological benefits. Providing the right growing conditions, including well-drained soil, adequate sunlight, and regular watering, ensures the health and vitality of this unique Australian tree.

In stock

Weight 3 kg
Dimensions 65 × 14 × 10 cm
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20 to 30 metres, Above 30 metres

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4 to 5 metres, 5 to 6 metres, 6 to 7 metres

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