Picconia excelsa 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Plantae Tracheophyta Magnoliopsida Scrophulariales Oleaceae

Scientific Name: Picconia excelsa (Aiton) DC.
Common Name(s):
Spanish Palo Blanco
Olea excelsa Sol.
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: 2016-10-17
Assessor(s): da Silva Menezes de Sequeira, M. & Beech, E.
Reviewer(s): Marrero Rodríguez, Á, Medina Hijazo, F., Naranjo Suárez, J., Santana López, I., Peraza Zurita, M.D. & Allen, D.J.
This tree species is endemic to Madeira Island and the Canary Islands. It is assessed as Least Concern as it is considered fairly frequent on several of the islands where it occurs and there are no current major threats affecting its populations.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is endemic to Macaronesia, where it is found in the Canary Islands (Tenerife, La Palma, El Hierro, La Gomera, Gran Canaria and Fuerteventura; Gobierno de Canarias 2017) and on Madeira Island (WCSP 2017). The estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) of this species is close to 113,000 km2. The area of occupancy (AOO) is estimated to be 468 km2. The species can be found between 200 and 1,200 m above sea level.
Countries occurrence:
Portugal (Madeira); Spain (Canary Is.)
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:468Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):No
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:113000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Lower elevation limit (metres):200
Upper elevation limit (metres):1200
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Although the population size is unknown in the Canary Islands, the species is locally frequent on Tenerife, El Hierro, La Gomera and La Palma. It has been identified as rare on Gran Canaria, and as very scarce in Fuerteventura. Population trends are thought to be stable in the Canaries.

On Madeira, the species has been reported to be a frequent species. It is difficult to estimate the population size, but it is likely to be of thousands of individuals although less than 10,000. The population in Madeira is stable and the population is mixed, with many seedlings.
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals:No
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:The species is a tree that grows up to 15 (20) m, characterised by its whitish bark. It is found in laurisilva forests (Rivas-Martínez 2002), as an important element of the laurisilva forests in Madeira and the Canaries.
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: The species is used for reforestation, and as an ornamental species occasionally. The wood of this species has been used in carpentry (Lobo Cabrera et al. 2007). On Madeira, the species was also used for construction and inlay (M. Sequiera pers. comm. 2016).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): On Madeira, this tree was found more commonly in the south in the past, however due to historical agricultural expansion and deforestation, the range of this species was restricted to the north of the island. Nowadays, the main threat are invasive plant species that can affect 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).

The uncontrolled exploitation of forest resources on islands like La Palma and Tenerife is currently affecting the species.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The species was previously assessed as Vulnerable (Bañares et al. 1998, Oldfield et al. 1998), although not included in recent versions of the Spanish Red List. In the Canary Islands is present in several protected areas, such as Garajonay National Park, as well and in Natura 2000 sites. The species is included in regional legislation in the Canary Islands and more research on population size would be advisable in order to improve current knowledge on the species status across its distribution. On Madeira, the species is found in Natural Park of Madeira, a World Heritage Site and Natura 2000 sites. Management of invasive species in Madeira would be beneficial. Picconia excelsa is reported as held in 25 ex situ collections (BGCI 2015) and is recorded as present in an ex situ seed bank collection (ENSCO 2015).

Citation: da Silva Menezes de Sequeira, M. & Beech, E. 2017. Picconia excelsa. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T30331A81868260. . Downloaded on 23 June 2018.
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