The genus Nothofagus comprises 38 species found in cool temperate or high altitude wet forests of the Southern Hemisphere Their current distribution of species in Australasia and South America derives from the breakup of the Great Southern Continent, Gondwana.
Their climatic requirements generally limit the use of most species as bonsai to all but the cooler parts of the World. However, with their small leaves and growth form they can make excellent specimens. The are slow growing trees and patience is needed.
Most Nothofagus species are evergreen but a few are deciduous and in the autumn these present a spectacular show go golden yellow leaves.
Three species occur in Australia these are the evergreen myrtle beech, Nothofagus cunninghamii (Tasmania & Victoria), and Antarctic beech, N. moerii (New South Wales & Queensland) and the deciduous beech, N. gunnii (Tasmania), which is the only cold weather deciduous tree or shrub native to in Australia.