Ilex canariensis

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Ilex canariensis
Ilex canariensis en el PN de Garajonay (La Gomera).jpg
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Aquifoliales
Family: Aquifoliaceae
Genus: Ilex
Species: I. canariensis
Binomial name
Ilex canariensis
Poir.

Ilex canariensis (Small-leaved Holly),is an endemic species of holly native to Macaronesian islands. It is a species of plant in the Aquifoliaceae family. It is found in Macaronesian islands of Madeira (Portugal) and Canarias (Spain).

Description[edit]

This species is known as "acebiño" (Spanish) or azevinho (Portuguese). It is a shrub or small tree up to 6.5 meters tall sometimes 10 m high, evergreen, with gray trunk. as with glossy ovate leaves, 5-7 long by and 2.5–4 cm wide, usually whole rounded edges in the leaves and only a few small spines; iota obtuse or rounded. The leaves have ovate to ovate to lanceolate, bright and whole. The young leaves can be as thorny.

The flower s are small, clustered in axillary inflorescences. The flowers are having four white petals, the flowers are located in subterminal leaf axils. It blooms from May to June. The fruits are globular and red holly. Fruits spherical, about 1 cm wide, fleshy, red and located on stems of 3–8 mm long. There are two sub-species. In the ssp. azevinho (Sun ex Lowe, Kunkel) the berries may reach 2 cm.

Ecology[edit]

Ilex canariensis is a plant in Aquifoliaceae family related to European holly, endemic of Madeira and Canarias. It has two sub-species both of them having the trunk clear with spots white and brown. It reproduces by seeds and shoots and has hanging humid moss from its branches which can reach five feet and known as "beards". Ilex canariensis needs high humidity and relatively stable and mild temperature.

It is threatened by habitat loss. The species is found mainly at lower altitudes in scrub and laurisilva where moisture in the air condenses or at the bottom of the ravines or near wet areas. Laurisilva may be increasing in Madeira, but throughout much of the range there are pressures, particularly from sheep and goats grazing and fires. This endemism has lost almost all the spines present on the edge of the leaves of the European holly, certainly due to the lack of pressure from herbivores that did not exist in these islands until the introduction of cattle by humans.

The Laurel forest of Laurisilva is a subtropical forest, found in areas with high humidity and relatively stable and mild temperatures. The macaronesian laurissilva is an endemic ecoregion from Macaronesia with many endemic laurifolia trees of what Ilex canariensis is one of them, endemic to the island of Madeira and the Canary Islands.

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