Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Datasheet

Morella faya
(firetree)

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Datasheet

Morella faya (firetree)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 20 November 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Pest
  • Host Plant
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Morella faya
  • Preferred Common Name
  • firetree
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Dicotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • The Macaronesian endemic M. faya has so far proved to be invasive only in the Hawaiian islands although is also cultivated in Florida (USA), Queensland (Australia) and New Zealand. Introduced to Hawaii in the...

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Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Morella faya (Ait.) Wilbur

Preferred Common Name

  • firetree

Other Scientific Names

  • Myrica faya Ait.

International Common Names

  • English: fayatree; fire tree; firebush
  • Spanish: faya
  • French: gale faya
  • Portuguese: faia; faia das ilhas; samouco

Local Common Names

  • Germany: Feuerbaum
  • USA/Hawaii: candleberry myrtle

EPPO code

  • MYRFA (Myrica faya)

Summary of Invasiveness

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The Macaronesian endemic M. faya has so far proved to be invasive only in the Hawaiian islands although is also cultivated in Florida (USA), Queensland (Australia) and New Zealand. Introduced to Hawaii in the 1800s and widely used subsequently in reclamation planting, it has spread into a variety of habitats including natural forest, lava flows, roadsides and abandoned pasture. It has a variety of impacts on native and exotic fauna and flora, especially as a result of the changes this nitrogen-fixing species induces on nutrient cycling. Since the mid-1900s, various control programmes have been initiated, including biological control, but these have had limited success and the species has yet to be brought under control, although natural dieback has been observed in recent decades.

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Dicotyledonae
  •                     Order: Myricales
  •                         Family: Myricaceae
  •                             Genus: Morella
  •                                 Species: Morella faya

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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Throughout the literature Morella faya has been, and still often is, referred to as Myrica faya. Only recently has the nomenclature change made by Wilbur (1994) been highlighted (Staples et al., 2002). This change had been easily overlooked as the new combination for M. faya was made in a footnote and resulted from Wilbur's recognition of the genus Morella Lour as a segregate from Myrica. However, it must be noted that the division of the Myricaceae into three genera might not be definitive and may still be revised (Griffin and Blazich, 2001).

Description

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M. faya is an evergreen tree growing up to 12 m tall in its native range, but is usually much smaller where introduced, e.g. no more than 8 m tall in Hawaii and in windy and exposed sites it may only reach a height of 2-3 m. It is often multi-stemmed and branches have reddish peltate hairs. The leaves are alternate, coriaceous, oblanceolate, glabrous, of variable size, 4-11 cm long by 1-2.5 cm wide. Leaf margins are somewhat revolute, remotely serrulate or serrate in upper half with a rounded to acute apex. Flowers are unisexual and generally born on separate trees. Each inflorescence is a spike or catkin bearing yellow flowers with no perianth. These are borne among leaves of the current year's growth. The fruit is a slightly fleshy edible drupe about 6 mm in diameter and dark red or blackish when mature, containing 1-5 seeds.

Plant Type

Top of page Broadleaved
Seed propagated
Tree
Woody

Distribution

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M. faya is native to the Macaronesian islands of the Azores, Madeira and the Canary Islands but not Cape Verde. It is also found on mainland Portugal but it is unclear whether the species is native there or was introduced (Press and Short, 1994). This species has not been widely introduced around the world but it is known to be present in the Hawaiian Islands, Florida, Australia and New Zealand. On all the main Hawaiian islands the species has become a major environmental weed. In New Zealand it is cultivated but has only been reported as naturalized on the Chatham Islands (Owen, 1997).

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasivePlantedReferenceNotes

Africa

Spain
-Canary IslandsWidespreadNative Not invasive Natural Bramwell and Bramwell, 1984

North America

USAPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-FloridaPresentIntroducedlate 1800s Planted Hodges and Gardner, 1985
-HawaiiWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Planted Vitousek and Walker, 1989

Europe

PortugalRestricted distribution Not invasive Press & Short, 1994
-AzoresWidespreadNative Not invasive Natural Marler and Boatman, 1952
-MadeiraWidespreadNative Not invasive Natural Press & Short, 1994
SpainPresentPresent based on regional distribution.

Oceania

AustraliaPresentIntroduced Not invasive Planted Csurhes and Edwards, 1998
-QueenslandPresent, few occurrencesIntroduced Not invasive Planted Anon., 2003
New ZealandPresentIntroduced Not invasive Planted Owen, 1997

History of Introduction and Spread

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M. faya was introduced into Hawaii probably by immigrants from the Azores or Madeira in the late 1800s, either as an ornamental or a medicinal plant. During the 1920s and 1930s the species was extensively planted for watershed reclamation. The weedy tendencies of M. faya were first recognised by the mid-1920s and by 1944 the Territorial Board of Agriculture and Forestry began an attempt to eradicate the species (Neal, 1965). By the 1990s, Whiteaker and Gardner (1992) reported that M. faya was a problem on all the major Hawaiian islands and covered around 35,000 ha. Over 80% species cover was found to occur on the island of Hawaii, including over 12,200 ha in the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park where only one tree existed in 1962, and it is considered to be one of the main noxious weed species. They considered that the species had yet to reach the limits of its potential distribution and a decade later its cover in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park had increased to over 15,900 ha, although much dieback has occurred since 1990 (Lenz and Taylor, 2001). It was also introduced to Florida, USA in the late 1800s (Hodges and Gardner, 1985), and to Queensland, Australia and New Zealand, though is not reported as invasive in any of these locations.

Risk of Introduction

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The State of Hawaii, USA restricts the import of M. faya seeds (Friday, 2000). In Queensland, Australia M. faya has been declared a Class 1 pest, i.e. a species that is not commonly present in Queensland and, if introduced, would cause an adverse economic, environmental or social impact. If established the species is subject to eradication from the state and landowners must take reasonable steps to keep the land free of the pest (Anon., 2003). There is a low risk of accidental introductions and introduction for ornamental purposes is the most likely pathway for the species to spread into new regions.

Habitat

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In its native range, M. faya is a frequent component of forest canopies and in many stands it is co-dominant, whereas it is generally absent from the shrub layer. In open areas, M. faya is a pioneer species on old lava flows and spreads readily into pasture lands. It is also found on sea cliffs, rocky hillsides and along roadsides. Habitats invaded in Hawaii reflect those occupied by the species in its native range (Lutzow-Felling et al., 1995; Arévalo and Fernández-Palacios, 2000), however, it does not readily invade closed, late-successional native forests (Binggeli, 1999). In its native Azores, stands dominated by M. faya are invaded by the Australian tree Pittosporum undulatum (Marler and Boatman, 1952).

Habitat List

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CategorySub-CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Terrestrial
 
Terrestrial – ManagedManaged grasslands (grazing systems) Secondary/tolerated habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Managed grasslands (grazing systems) Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural
Disturbed areas Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Disturbed areas Principal habitat Natural
Rail / roadsides Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural
Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalNatural forests Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Natural forests Principal habitat Natural
Natural grasslands Secondary/tolerated habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Natural grasslands Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural
Rocky areas / lava flows Principal habitat Natural
Littoral
Coastal areas Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural

Hosts/Species Affected

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This tree is primarily associated with primary succession, such as colonization of old lava flows. However, it is also common on abandoned pasture lands in Hawaii where the weedy nature of the tree was first recognized.

Biology and Ecology

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Physiology and Phenology

This tree is adapted to xeric conditions and exhibits attributes such as a relatively low transpiration rate. Broadly similar phenological patterns have been observed in the native and invaded ranges with flowering in late spring and fruiting towards the end of the year. In Hawaii, peak flowering time occurs in June with a minimum in December-January. Fruits may be observed all year round but in Hawaii, fruits ripen primarily between August and November. Peaks of immature fruiting have been recorded in August-September and a minimum in February-March. Maximum mature fruiting has observed in November and a minimum in May. Leaf flushing peaks in June but some differences in leaf flushing and leaf fall between the three Hawaiian sites investigated have been observed (Kraus, 1964; Whiteaker and Gardner, 1992).

Reproductive Biology

M. faya is considered to be a dioecious species; however, male plants often produce some fruits and female individuals may bear a few male inflorescences. It appears to be a wind-pollinated species although in Hawaii it is visited by the introduced Apis mellifera. Up to 20,000 seeds per tree are produced every year. The fruit is bird-dispersed in its native range, and in Hawaii it is dispersed by birds (mainly introduced species) but also feral pigs. Seed germination decreases from 80% at 10 weeks to 30% after 78 weeks of dry storage, but are recorded asremaining viable in the soil for long periods (PIER, 2007). Passage of seeds through birds has no effect on germination whereas the species own leaf litter reduces seed germination. Germination occurs at all light levels but is highest under 55-63% shade (Walker, 1990). In its native range, M. faya contributes little to the seed bank of forests where the tree is a canopy co-dominant (Arévalo and Fernández-Palacios, 2000).

Environmental Requirements

In its native range, the distribution of M. faya is very much determined by rainfall and temperature. Frost is a major limiting factor as the tree has not been recorded more than 100 m above the frost line. The minimum mean annual rainfall is about 500 mm. In some forests, fog drips are a significant source of water and the tree is therefore rarely encountered above the high moisture cloud zone. In the Macaronesian islands the altitudinal range of M. faya is 400-1500 m, however, this can vary greatly between islands, with for example, the upper altitudinal limit being 600 to 1500 m depending on the island. In Hawaii, M. faya occurs between 150 and 2000 m altitude, but does not regenerate naturally at either altitudinal extreme. The mean annual rainfall range is 1270-2540 mm and mean annual temperature may be as high as 22°C. In Hawaii, M. faya has been found in 11 soil types and on pH 5-6 soils in forests in Tenerife, Canary Islands (Whiteaker and Gardner, 1992; Fernández-Palacios and Arévalo, 1998). Being a light-demanding species it does not regenerate under its own canopy (Fernández-Palacios and Arévalo, 1998), and typically natural regeneration takes place on old lava flows or in open vegetation.

Associations

M. faya forms a symbiotic association with the nitrogen-fixing actinomycete Frankia sp. (Turner and Vitousek, 1987).

Climate

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ClimateStatusDescriptionRemark
C - Temperate/Mesothermal climate Preferred Average temp. of coldest month > 0°C and < 18°C, mean warmest month > 10°C
Cf - Warm temperate climate, wet all year Preferred Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, wet all year
Cs - Warm temperate climate with dry summer Tolerated Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry summers
Cw - Warm temperate climate with dry winter Tolerated Warm temperate climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry winters)

Latitude/Altitude Ranges

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Latitude North (°N)Latitude South (°S)Altitude Lower (m)Altitude Upper (m)
27-39 0 0

Air Temperature

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Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Absolute minimum temperature (ºC) 0 0
Mean annual temperature (ºC) 13 22
Mean maximum temperature of hottest month (ºC) 0 0
Mean minimum temperature of coldest month (ºC) 0 0

Rainfall

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ParameterLower limitUpper limitDescription
Dry season duration00number of consecutive months with <40 mm rainfall
Mean annual rainfall5002500mm; lower/upper limits

Rainfall Regime

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Soil Tolerances

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Soil drainage

  • free

Soil reaction

  • acid

Special soil tolerances

  • infertile

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Botryotinia fuckeliana Pathogen Fruits/pods
Caloptilia schinella Herbivore Hawaii
Caloptilia sp. nr. schinella Herbivore Leaves
Septoria hodgesii Pathogen Leaves

Notes on Natural Enemies

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M. faya suffers from a number of diseases resulting in canker, dieback and root rot. Nectria galligena, common throughout its native range, causes severe canker and galls. The dieback disease, Ramularia destructiva, may be especially severe on the shoots of young plants or stump coppice and may also cause premature shedding of flowers and fruits (Gardner and Hodges, 1990). In Hawaii, Botrytis cinerea causes fruit rot and up to half of the fruits have been reported to be infected (Duffy and Gardner, 1994). The leafhopper Sophonia rufofascia (Homoptera: Cicadellidae) was first reported in the state of Hawaii in 1987 probably resulting from an accidental introduction from Asia. It feeds on the leaf phloem of a wide host plant range and has a major impact on tree health including a reduction in leaf size, constriction of leaf xylem diameters, leaf chlorosis and necrosis, and is probably the main or sole cause of the dieback exhibited by M. faya since the late 1990s (Lenz and Taylor, 2001).

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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The seeds are bird-dispersed in its native range, and in Hawaii they are dispersed by birds and feral pigs. Eleven species of birds are known to visit M. faya, four are natives and seven exotics (LaRosa et al., 1985; Woodward et al., 1990). The two studies, both carried out in the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, came to different conclusions although they both view the species as bird-dispersed. LaRosa et al. (1985) concluded that the exotic finch, Carpodacus mexicanus, and the native Myadestes obscurus were the most important dispersal agent. Woodward et al. (1990) found that the four species of native birds that visit the tree rarely feed on the fruits whereas out of the seven exotic birds visiting the species, five were observed ingesting the fruit. The Japanese White eye (Zosterops japonicus) was the most frequent visitor and consumer and is the primary dispersal agent according to Woodward et al. (1990), whereas LaRosa et al. (1985) found that it rarely consumed the fruit. Over a third of the Zosterops japonicus captured by Woodward et al. (1990) produced faecal samples containing seeds. These seeds were just as viable as those collected directly from M. faya trees or on under their canopies.

This species does not appear to be currently used or promoted for land rehabilitation, and there is a low risk of accidental introductions. Introduction for ornamental purposes is the most likely pathway for the species to spread into new regions.

Pathway Causes

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Impact Summary

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CategoryImpact
Animal/plant collections None
Animal/plant products None
Biodiversity (generally) Negative
Crop production None
Environment (generally) Negative
Fisheries / aquaculture None
Forestry production None
Human health None
Livestock production Negative
Native fauna None
Native flora Negative
Rare/protected species None
Tourism None
Trade/international relations None
Transport/travel None

Impact

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As M. faya facilitates an increase in the polyphagous Sophonia rufofascia abundance, this could cause some economic impact on fruit crops where M. faya is present. There are, however, no quantitative assessments of economic damage caused by M. faya.

Economic Impact

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As M. faya facilitates an increase in the polyphagous Sophonia rufofascia abundance, this could cause some economic impact on fruit crops where M. faya is present. There are, however, no quantitative assessments of economic damage caused by M. faya.

Environmental Impact

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M. faya has many deleterious impacts but it primarily changes ecosystem function by altering the nitrogen cycle, increasing nitrogen availability through nitrogen fixation. It also forms monospecific stands that have virtually no understorey and its litter inhibits germination and seedling establishment of the native tree Metrosideros polymorpha. In Hawaii, during primary succession on lava flows, invasion by M. faya increases nitrogen inputs to this system by at least fourfold and in native forests the tree alters both the quality and quantity of litter entering the decomposition process. These changes favour the abundance of exotic earthworms and their biomass under the canopy of M. faya is four to nearly eight times greater than under the canopy of the native Metrosideros polymorpha. In turn, this increase in the number of earthworms which are actively sought by feral pigs causes widespread disturbance and damage to native vegetation from pig feeding, increasing chances for further establishment of M. faya. It also increases the abundance of harmful insect herbivores (Aplet, 1990; Vitousek et al., 1987; Vitousek and Walker, 1989; Lenz and Taylor, 2001).

Impact: Biodiversity

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M. faya facilitates the spread of introduced species and animals, exotic earthworms in particular. In the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, M. faya is recognized as one of the most important environmental weeds.

Threatened Species

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Threatened SpeciesConservation StatusWhere ThreatenedMechanismReferencesNotes
Phyllostegia glabra var. lanaiensis (ulihi phyllostegia)USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiEcosystem change / habitat alterationUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 1995
Phyllostegia knudsenii (Waimea phyllostegia)NatureServe NatureServe; USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition (unspecified)US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2009a
Phyllostegia renovans (red-leaf phyllostegia)NatureServe NatureServe; USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - monopolizing resources; Ecosystem change / habitat alterationUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010b
Phyllostegia waimeae (Kauai phyllostegia)USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiEcosystem change / habitat alterationUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2008a
Plantago princepsNatureServe NatureServe; USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - monopolizing resources; Ecosystem change / habitat alterationUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010c
Platydesma rostrataCR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered) CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - monopolizing resources; Ecosystem change / habitat alterationUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010b
Pritchardia hardyi (Makaleha pritchardia)CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered) CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - monopolizing resourcesUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010d
Santalum freycinetianum var. lanaienseNo DetailsHawaiiCompetition (unspecified)US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2011b
Schiedea kaalae (Oahu schiedea)CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered) CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - monopolizing resourcesUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 1998
Schiedea stellarioidesCR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered) CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - monopolizing resources; Ecosystem change / habitat alterationUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010a
Silene perlmanii (cliffface catchfly)CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered) CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - monopolizing resources; Ecosystem change / habitat alterationUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2012
Solanum sandwicenseNational list(s) National list(s); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - monopolizing resourcesUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2009b
Spermolepis hawaiiensis (Hawaii scaleseed)USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - monopolizing resourcesUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010e
Stenogyne kanehoana (Oahu stenogyne)CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered) CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - monopolizing resourcesUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 1998
Tetramolopium remyi (Awalua Ridge tetramolopium)USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - monopolizing resourcesUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 1995
Viola chamissoniana subsp. chamissoniana (pamakani)USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition (unspecified); Ecosystem change / habitat alterationUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2008b
Viola lanaiensis (Hawaii violet)USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition (unspecified); Ecosystem change / habitat alterationUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 1995
Peucedanum sandwicense (makou)NatureServe NatureServe; USA ESA listing as threatened species USA ESA listing as threatened speciesHawaiiCompetition - monopolizing resourcesUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2011a

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Abundant in its native range
  • Pioneering in disturbed areas
  • Long lived
  • Fast growing
  • Has high reproductive potential
Impact outcomes
  • Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
  • Modification of nutrient regime
  • Modification of successional patterns
  • Monoculture formation
  • Reduced native biodiversity
  • Threat to/ loss of endangered species
  • Threat to/ loss of native species
Impact mechanisms
  • Allelopathic
  • Competition - monopolizing resources
  • Competition - shading
  • Interaction with other invasive species
  • Rapid growth
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately
  • Difficult/costly to control

Uses

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This species has a limited potential. It is an ornamental with a good degree of wind tolerance. It was formerly viewed as species to be used in land reclamation as was the case in Hawaii during the early 1900s, and Portuguese labourers used to make wine from the fruits. In its native range it is viewed as a valuable fuelwood and other minor uses have been reported (Lutzow-Felling et al., 1995).

Uses List

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Environmental

  • Agroforestry
  • Amenity
  • Land reclamation
  • Revegetation

Fuels

  • Fuelwood

General

  • Ornamental

Medicinal, pharmaceutical

  • Source of medicine/pharmaceutical

Detection and Inspection

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The State of Hawaii, USA restricts the import of M. faya seeds (Friday, 2000). In Queensland, Australia, M. faya has been declared a Class 1 pest, i.e. a species that is not commonly present in Queensland and, if introduced, would cause an adverse economic, environmental or social impact. If established, the species would be subject to eradication by the state government and landowners would have to take reasonable steps to keep the land free of the pest (Anon., 2003). There is a low risk of accidental introductions and introduction for ornamental purposes is the most likely pathway for the species to spread into new regions.

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

Top of page There is no confusion with other species and no particular difficulties in identifying this tree.

Prevention and Control

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Control

Cultural control

M. faya is not a preferred fodder for livestock, thus herbivory is of very limited value in controlling the species (Lutzow-Felling et al., 1995), although PIER (2007) notes that goats can used to help control the species. The grass Schizachyrium condensatum reduces recruitment of M. faya as it substantially reduces light at the soil surface and is thought to then reduce germination and early seedling growth of M. faya (D'Antonio and Mack, 2001) though management strategies involving reseeding have not been developed. In addition, as feral pigs are important in Hawaii in disseminating seeds and via ground disturbance, provide sites for seedling establishment, control of feral pigs is likely to reduce existing densities and further spread.

Mechanical control

Loh and Daehler (2007) assessed the effects of three mechanical control treatments for M. faya on the regeneration of native species: logging all trees, trees left standing but girdled, and incremental girdling over 20 months. Leaf litter was either removed or left, and a selection of native and invasive species were planted. No single method eliminated all invaders, but girdling of M. faya provided suitable conditions for most native species, and if combined with selective removal of the most disruptive alien species and native seed additions, it was concluded that girdling could be an effective general strategy for restoring native forests that have been overwhelmed by woody invaders (Loh and Daehler, 2007).

Chemical control

Use of herbicides has proved to be the only effective means of controlling the species to date. However, due to the high costs of chemicals and labour requirements, the original aim of eradicating the species was never achieved. Glyphosate is very effective when applied by the notching method or into drilled holes. The species is susceptible to foliar sprays of picloram resulting in complete canopy kill and 99% control of resprouting. Control of M. faya by soil application in open vegetation with tebuthiuron has been poor. The species is moderately sensitive to drizzle applications of triclopyr in water or oil and repeat applications may provide adequate suppression as the canopy density is reduced by previous treatments (Whiteaker and Gardner, 1992; Matooka, 2000).

Biological control

Biological control of M. faya has been attempted since the 1950s. In 1956, Strepsicrates smithiana (Tortricidae) was introduced to Hawaii but it failed to become established on M. faya. Instead, at low elevation it became established on M. cerifera. By the early 1960s, insects associated with M. faya in its native range had been extensively documented (e.g. Kraus, 1964) and later efforts included the use of pathogens (Hodges and Gardner, 1985). A number of diseases causing cankers, dieback and root rot were identified as potential biocontrol agents (Gardner and Hodges, 1990). The first agent to become established on M. faya is a leaf miner, Caloptilia nr. schinella Walsingham (Gracillariidae) which was released in Hawaii in 1991 (Leen and Markin, 1996). By 1995, this leaf miner had spread widely from the four release sites; however, its impact on the trees was negligible. In 1998, the leaf spot fungus Septoria hodgesii Gardner was released but this agent has had no significant impact (Smith, 2002). In view of the limited success achieved with introduced biological control agents, an alternative approach has been suggested, entailing the introduction of more aggressive or ecologically fit strains of already established insect pests and pathogens, and Duffy and Gardner (1994) suggested that this approach should be envisaged for the fruit rot Botrytis cinerea. Due to the poor results so far achieved and the lack of potential biological control agents from the native range, the biological control programme of M. faya has been greatly reduced since 1995 (Smith, 2002). However, Phyllonorycter myricae(Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae) is currently under investigation as a possible biological control agent at the Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry laboratory, Volcano, Hawaii (PIER, 2007).

Integrated control

There is little hope that a single biological control agent will be discovered that will effectively control M. faya. It is likely that a variety of agents in conjunction with the use of traditional control methods will keep the species under control.

References

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Anon., 2003. Declared plants of Queensland. NRM Facts PP. The State of Queensland, Australia. http://www.nrm.qld.gov.au/factsheets/pdf/pest/PP1.pdf

Aplet GH, 1990. Alteration of earthworm community biomass by the alien Myrica faya in Hawaii. Oecologia, 82:414-416

Arévalo JR, Fernández-Palacios JM, 2000. Seed bank analysis of tree species in two stands of the Tenerife laurel forest (Canary Islands). Forest Ecology Management, 130:177-185

Binggeli P, 1999. Invasive woody plants. http://members.lycos.co.uk/WoodyPlantEcology/invasive/index.html

Bramwell D, Bramwell Z, 1984. Wild flowers of the Canary Islands. Cheltenham, UK: Stanley Thornes

Csurhes S, Edwards R, 1998. Potential environmental weeds in Australia: candidate species for preventative control. Coorparoo, Australia: Queensland Department of Natural Resources

D'Antonio CM, Mack M, 2001. Exotic grasses potentially slow invasion of an N-fixing tree into a Hawaiian woodland. Biological Invasion, 3:69-73

Duffy BK, Gardner DE, 1994. Locally established Botrytis fruit rot of Myrica faya, a noxious weed in Hawaii. Plant Disease, 78(9):919-923

Fernández-Palacios JM, Arévalo JR, 1998. Regeneration strategies of tree species in the laurel forest of Tenerife (The Canary Islands). Plant Ecology, 137:21-29

Friday JB, 2000. Seed Technology for Forestry in Hawaii. Resource Management RM-4 CTAHR, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu

Gardner DE, Hodges CS Jr, 1990. Diseases of Myrica faya (firetree, Myricaceae) in the Azores, Madeira and the Canary Islands. Plant Pathology, 39(2):326-330

Griffin JJ, Blazich FA, 2001. Myricaceae - Bayberry family - Myrica L. and Morella Lour. - bayberry. http://wpsm.net/Morella_&_Myrica.pdf

Hodges CS, Gardner DE, 1985. Myrica faya: potential biological control agents. University of Hawaii Cooperative Extension Service Studies Unit, Technical Report, 54:1-37. Botany Dept, University of Hawaii, Honolulu

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Links to Websites

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WebsiteURLComment
GISD/IASPMR: Invasive Alien Species Pathway Management Resource and DAISIE European Invasive Alien Species Gatewayhttps://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.m93f6Data source for updated system data added to species habitat list.
Global register of Introduced and Invasive species (GRIIS)http://griis.org/Data source for updated system data added to species habitat list.

Contributors

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22/11/2007 Updated by:

Nick Pasiecznik, Consultant, France

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