Phillyrea latifolia (= P.media) is a small tree. It’s similar to evergreen buckthorn (Rhamnus alaternus) despite not being related species. However, the arrangement of the leaves makes an easy distinction: Phillyrea latifolia has opposite leaves -so in pairs, one in front each other in the stem- while those of evergreen buckthorn (Rhamnus alaternus) indeed alternate. The leaves of Phillyrea latifolia are perennial, they have a short petiole and an ovate or lanceolate blade, 2-7 cm long by 1-3 cm wide, with a finely toothed margin. Except when young, these leaves are stiff as the ones of the holm oak and the buckthorn. Its black, ripe fruit looks like a little olive.
Phillyrea latifolia is also similar to Phillyrea angustifolia, now with good reason because they are close species. However, P.angustifolia has narrower leaves with entire margin, and its maximum size is smaller.
Phillyrea latifolia lives in the maquis and in the green oak forests of sunny places. Phillyrea latifolia can be the dominant species in rocky areas because it resists the summer drought.
[photos Jordi Badia]
- See the new sprouts of Phillyrea latifolia after the forest fire.
- See the damage by the olive psyllid (Euphyllura olivina).
- See the article Convergència, in Catalan, by Jordi Badia.
- Flora of Bages – Herbarium of P. Font Quer.