Species list


Pleiomeris canariensis


Delfino, coderno (Spa).


DID YOU KNOW...? ‘Pleiomeris canariensis’ is one of the rarest and strangest trees in the laurel forest, and difficult to spot.


A very branching evergreen tree with a relatively small crown. It normally grows from 3-5 m tall, although it can sometimes reach a height of 15 m. It tends to have shoots at the base (suckers) that are sometimes so numerous that they give the appearance of dense scrub. The trunk is short, slender, fairly smooth, and has greyish-brown bark. Pleiomeris canariensis stands out because of its large leaves, 15-20 cm long by 5-6 cm wide, and along with Persea indica, is one of the species with the greatest surface area of foliage in the laurel forest. The leaves are simple, alternate, oblong-lanceolate or obovate-lanceolate, with an obtuse tip. They are also somewhat hard. They have prominent veins on the underside and an entire margin, although the blade may seem wavy. In spring this tree is covered in abundant blossom. The flowers are hermaphroditic and have almost no stalks. They appear in clusters on very short and woody stems that grows directly from the branches (cauliflory). They have 5 greenish-white, very pointed petals that are joined at the base. The fruits are small fleshy balls (drupes), about 9 mm in diameter, which are a little flattened at the apex, where there is a short appendage. They are lilac-pink in colour when ripe and contain a single seed. This species differs from its relative Heberdenia excelsa mainly by being larger, with more marked ribbing on its leaves, as well as by the almost lack of a flower stalk. It is also easy to identify due to the numerous woody stems that remain on the terminal branches after flowering and fruiting.


Pleiomeris canariensis grows on crags, rocky shelves and ledges at the lower edge of the monteverde forest zone. Although it is associated with transition scrub containing species from the thermophilic forest, it grows best in the laurel forest, generally in spots exposed to the moisture of the trade winds. It appears at altitudes of between 200 and 900 m, either alone or in small stands that are in fact are clonic colonies formed from the root shoots of a few individuals that make it seem as if there are many more trees.


This tree is endemic to the Canary Islands and lives exclusively in Tenerife and Gran Canaria. It has been recorded as being present on La Palma, but this fact has been questioned by the botanist from that island, Arnoldo Santos. The same is true for the island of La Gomera, where the botanists Angel Bañares and Eduardo Barquín point out that perhaps it could have been confused with another species.