Fire Tree

Fire tree, firetree, faya bush
(Morella faya)

(Myricaceae)

Considered very invasive and is on the Hawaii State Noxious Weed List.

fayabushDescription:

  • Evergreen shrub or small tree up to 8 m tall (26 ft)
  • Fruit are pink to red or blackish when mature, and appear bumpy
  • Native to the Azores, Madeira and Canary Islands, introduced to Hawaii as an ornamental and backyard food crop (berry wine) by Portuguese laborers in the 1800′s and spread as a reforestation tree in the 1920′s.

Harm:

  • Out-competes native plant species and capable of forming dense, single-species stands, devoid of other plant life
  • Modifies forest habitat by significantly increasing nitrogen levels in the soil, which makes the area inhospitable to native plants, but more suitable for other invasive species
  • Seeds spread by animals.
  • Able to colonize a wide range of habitats due to its ability to alter soil chemistry

In Hawaii:

  • Kauai: Present in Waimea Canyon and Kokee State Park. Landowners are encouraged to control where possible.
  • Oahu: Established in the southern Waianae mountains where Oahu Army Natural Resources Program controls populations. There are no known trees in the Koolau mountains.
  • Maui: Present in large numbers on the slopes of Haleakala. Not considered eradicable by MISC. Landowners are encouraged to control where possible. The only known plants on West Maui have been controlled.
  • Molokai: Presence/absence unknown.
  • Lanai: Presence/absence unknown.
  • Kahoolawe: None known.
  • Big Island: Widespread on the Big Island where hundreds of acres are already infested. Not considered eradicable by BIISC. However, landowners are encouraged to control wherever possible.

For more information, see: