Small-leaved holly (Ilex canariensis)

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Small-leaved holly berries
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Small-leaved holly fact file

Small-leaved holly description

KingdomPlantae
PhylumTracheophyta
ClassMagnoliopsida
OrderCelastrales
FamilyAquifoliaceae
GenusIlex (1)

The small-leaved holly (Ilex canariensis) is a small tree endemic to the Macaronesian islands in the North Atlantic (2). The bark is greyish, and, like other hollies, the leathery leaves are dark green above and pale green below (3) (4). The flowers are small and white, and the fruit is a fleshy red berry (2) (4).

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Small-leaved holly biology

The small-leaved holly produces fruit all year round, but mainly between December and May. Several different bird species are to known to consume the fruit and disperse the intact seeds in their droppings (2).

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Small-leaved holly range

The small-leaved holly is restricted to the Canary Islands (Spain) and Madeira (Portugal), off the coast of northwest Africa (1).

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Small-leaved holly habitat

The small-leaved holly is found at lower altitudes in scrub and evergreen laurel forest (laurisilva) (1).

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Small-leaved holly status

The small-leaved holly is classified as Near Threatened (NT) on the IUCN Red List (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Near Threatened

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Small-leaved holly threats

Uncontrolled grazing and fires are exerting the greatest pressure on the small-leaved holly’s remaining habitat (1), while introduced rats on the Canary Islands may be having a negative impact on the survival of its seeds (2).

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Small-leaved holly conservation

The small-leaved holly is known to occur within several protected areas (1), including the Laurisilva of Madeira UNESCO World Heritage Site, which was designated in 1999 to protect the largest surviving area of laurel forest (5).

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Find out more

For more information on the Laurisilva of Madeira World Heritage Site:

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Authentication

This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:
arkive@wildscreen.org.uk

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Glossary

Endemic
A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
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References

  1. IUCN Red List (April, 2011)
    http://www.iucnredlist.org
  2. Salvande, M., Mulet, M. and Gomez, L. (2006) Ilex canariensis Poir. (Aquifoliaceae) post-dispersal seed predation in the Canary Islands. Plant Ecology, 187: 143–151.
  3. Heywood, V.H. (1978) Flowering Plants of the World. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  4. Madeira Nature (January, 2009)
    http://www.madeiranature.com/index/cms/page/-/page/nature_flora_endemic_indigenous_laurissilva/lang/en/articleId/169/articleTitle/small-leaved-holly
  5. World Heritage Centre, UNESCO (January, 2009)
    http://whc.unesco.org
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Image credit

Small-leaved holly berries  
Small-leaved holly berries

© Pablo César Pérez González

Pablo César Pérez González
http://www.flickr.com/photos/53541382@N00/

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