Ocotea foetens 

Scope: Global & Europe
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Plantae Tracheophyta Magnoliopsida Laurales Lauraceae

Scientific Name: Ocotea foetens (Aiton) Baill.
Common Name(s):
Spanish Til, Tilo
Keiria lutea Bowdich
Laurus foetens Aiton
Taxonomic Source(s): The Plant List. 2017. The Plant List. Version 1.1. Available at:

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2017
Date Assessed: 2016-10-13
Assessor(s): da Silva Menezes de Sequeira, M. & Beech, E.
Reviewer(s): Reyes Betancort, J.A., Scholz, S. & Allen, D.J.
This species is a large tree which is found only in Madeira and the Canary Islands. It is assessed as Least Concern as the species has a large extent of occurrence and the number of mature individuals in the entire population exceeds the threshold for criterion C. However on the Canaries the species is generally rarer, found in small numbers, and it is impacted by declines in water availability; it benefits from conservation measures and habitat and population monitoring is required.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is endemic to the western and central Canary Islands (Bramwell and López 1999, Gobierno de Canarias 2017) and Madeira Island (and historically, it is thought the species was found in Porto Santo). The estimated extent of occurrence is 75,000 km2. The plant is found between 100 and 1,500 m above sea level.
Countries occurrence:
Portugal (Madeira); Spain (Canary Is.)
Additional data:
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Lower elevation limit (metres):100
Upper elevation limit (metres):1500
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Overall, the population is probably stable, however it requires monitoring. The subpopulation in the Canary Islands has not been properly surveyed but contains fewer than 10,000 individuals in total and on some islands it is known from very restricted areas and populations. The population may be decreasing as it requires humid soils and water is being abstracted from springs.

In Madeira, the tree is common in the north of the island and there are estimated to be over 10,000 individuals. It is no longer a common plant in the south of the island due to agricultural expansion. The population of Madeira is stable.
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This species is a dominant element of the temperate laurisilva on Madeira, whilst on the Canaries it is much less common. This species grows as a tree up to 42 m, but trees of this size are uncommon today, and the usual size found on the Canaries is 15-20 m. It is found in humid forests and it is restricted to remaining areas of good quality forest habitat. The fruits are similar to acorns (Bramwell and Lopez 1999). It is seldom found outside the range of this forest in Madeira.
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Unknown

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: The wood is strong smelling and has a texture similar to ebony (Bramwell and Lopez 1999). The species is used medicinally locally in Madeira, including fever and hypertension. It is used for handicrafts and agricultural tools. It is used for construction and fuel. It is used as a honey plant and food for cattle. It is also found in gardens and as a road tree (L. Ramos and M. Sequeira pers. comm. 2016).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): On Madeira, previously this tree was found more commonly in the south, however due to historical agricultural expansion and deforestation, the range of this species was restricted to the north of the island. Nowadays, the threat on Madeira is mainly from invasive species that could change the fire regime of the forest and therefore expose the best-preserved areas to large fires. The effect of changes in water catchment areas are unpredictable but surely would have some effect. There is no cutting or cattle in the forest (M. Sequeira pers. comm. 2016).

On the Canaries, changes to water catchments (spring water abstraction and surface water diversion) is the primary threat. Clearance of laurisilva forest greatly reduced the extent and quality suitable habitat for this species.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The species was listed as Endangered in the Canary Islands (Bañares et al. 2008), however most remaining populations are within protected areas, and the species is now a component of reforestation programmes on Gran Canaria. It is listed in government legislation of 1991 in the Canary Islands. It was previously assessed as Lower Risk/near threatened (Oldfield et al. 1998, World Conservation Monitoring 1998). The species is in the Natural Park of Madeira, the World Heritage Site and Natura 2000 sites. Management of invasive species in Madeira would be beneficial. Ocotea foetens is reported as held in 30 ex situ collections (BGCI 2015).

Citation: da Silva Menezes de Sequeira, M. & Beech, E. 2017. Ocotea foetens. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T30328A81868200. . Downloaded on 16 August 2018.
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