Species list


Maytenus canariensis


Peralillo (Spa).


DID YOU KNOW...? Locally this tree is known as the 'peralillo', or 'little pear', as its small fruits and particularly its leaves are similar to the European pear.


This is a small, highly branching and very knotty tree that reaches 6-8 m in height, although in very exposed and windy areas it may only be shrub-sized. Normally it has a rather small and globose crown. The trunk is somewhat irregular and has dark grey bark with fine, transverse folds. The leaves are simple, perennial, alternate, slightly leathery, and have an irregularly serrated or crenate margin. The blades are shiny green, hairless, and inversely ovate in shape (obovate), although they can sometimes be rounded. They are 4-8 cm long and 2-4 cm wide. In the autumn, numerous creamy white hermaphroditic flowers begin to bloom in short clusters next to the leaf stalks. The fruits, which at first glance look like pears, are pale green capsules that appear fleshy at first. As they ripen they become hard, brown or reddish in colour, and three parts, or valves, open to release blackish-red seeds surrounded by a white aril, or seed coat.


The 'little pear' is a species of the thermophilous forests. It normally grows between altitudes of 200 and 800 m, which is why it is found at the lower edge of the monteverde forest zone. Less frequently, it can reach the transition area with the humid pine zones, as well as the lower and mid-zones of ravines oriented towards trade winds. It is very rarely found on southern and western faces. It prefers open, sunny spots.


This tree is endemic to the Canary Islands. It is a widely scattered and infrequent species that it is distributed throughout the islands in the archipelago.