IUCN threat status:

Least Concern (LC)

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Morella faya (Faya; syn. Myrica faya) is a species in the bog-myrtle family Myricaceae. It is native to Macaronesia (Azores, Canary Islands, Madeira) and southern Portugal. It is abundant in the upper cloud forest zone of the Atlantic islands, where, together with Erica arborea (Brezo), it forms the fayal-brezal ecozone on exposed ridges above the laurisilva ecozone and below the pinar (Pinus canariensis) ecozone. Fayal-brezal habitats also commonly develop in the laurisilva ecozone where the original laurisilva forest has been destroyed by cutting or fire.

Faya is a large shrub or small tree growing to 8 m (rarely to 12 m) tall with evergreen foliage, The leaves are 4-11 cm long, with an entire to crenate margin. The flowers are inconspicuous catkins, the fruit a fleshy dark purple drupe 6-8 mm in diameter containing 1-5 seeds, with a rough waxy coating, produced in clusters.

The fruit is edible, though of limited palatability; the fruit wax can also be used for production of candles. Historically, the seeds have also been ground into flour as a famine food. The species is introduced, and invasive, on Hawaii.


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