Macaronesian holly

(Ilex canariensis canariensis)



Ilex perado, the Macaronesian holly, is a species of holly endemic to Macaronesia, distributed throughout the Azores, Madeira and Canary islands. It is an important component of the natural high-altitude Macaronesian rainforest, known as 'laurisilva', found mostly at 500 to 1,200 m (1,640 to 3,937 ft) altitude but it also appears in forest formations at lower altitudes. Many of the subspecies have been classified as threatened, probably because of very small population sizes, and are protected by local, national and regional legislation. Ilex perado is a small evergreen tree growing up to 7–10 m (23–33 ft) in height, occasionally up to 15 metres (49 ft), it is dioecious and has white to pink flowers and red toxic berries, slightly bigger than those of a common holly Its leaves are oblong, leathery dark green on top and a lighter color on the bottom and it as a smooth, grey trunk. Ilex perado is native to the Azores, where it is found in all of the islands, the island of Madeira (mostly in the central and northern parts) and the Canary Islands in northern Tenerife, La Gomera and La Palma. It grows on steep slopes and in the bottom of ravines, in areas with moist soils. It is a common tree of laurisilva and high-altitude forests and can reach non-laurisilva stands in Madeira into the heath. Ilex is a genus of over 560 species of flowering plants in the family Aquifoliaceae, and the only living genus in that family. Ilex has the most species of any woody dioecious angiosperm genus. The species are evergreen or deciduous trees, shrubs, and climbers from tropics to temperate zones worldwide. The type species is Ilex aquifolium, the common European holly used in Christmas decorations and cards. The genus is widespread throughout the temperate and subtropical regions of the world. It includes species of trees, shrubs, and climbers, with evergreen or deciduous foliage and inconspicuous flowers. Its range was more extended in the Tertiary period and many species are adapted to laurel forest habitats. It occurs from sea level to more than 2,000 metres (6,600 ft) with high mountain species. It is a genus of small, evergreen trees with smooth, glabrous, or pubescent branchlets. The plants are generally slow-growing with some species growing to 25 m (82 ft) tall. The type species is the European holly Ilex aquifolium described by Linnaeus. Plants in this genus have simple, alternate glossy leaves, frequently with a spiny leaf margin.

Taxonomic tree:

Kingdom: Plantae
Class: Magnoliopsida
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