Red List habitat classification > RLG - Forests > RLG2.5b Canarian Phoenix grove

Canarian Phoenix grove

Quick facts

Red List habitat type code RLG2.5b
Threat status
Europe Vulnerable
EU Vulnerable
Relation to
Source European Red List habitat factsheet
European Red List of habitats reports
European Red List of habitats (Excel table)


The habitat includes sparse Phoenix canariensis groves (palmares) on colluvial deposits, mostly on flat mid-slope sites or at the base of irregular temporary streams. Endemic only to the Canary Islands, they are dependent on brief, temporary water-tables present in sporadic torrential flows during winter. Thus, they are azonal in the dry to arid bioclimatic belts of the infra-thermomediterranean where the zonal vegetation consists of xerophytic scrub (F8.1: Canary Island xerophytic scrub). As the Canarian palms were probably much exploited by humans in historic times (and still are found as semi-anthropogenic formations for the extraction of ‘palm honey’ or guarapo, a syrup made of the palm sap), the palm groves are considered to be impoverished versions of a former microphanerophytic dense community that was probably co-dominated also by dragon trees (Dracaena draco) and had some characteristics of a dry edapho-hygrophilous forest with climbers and tall-shrubs. Usually, the groves are in contact with the xerophytic sclerophyllous or scale-leaf communities (Mayteno-Juniperion canariensis) or canarian-spurge communities (the cardonales and tabaibales of Aeonio-Euphorbion canariensis) included in the G3.9c Macaronesian Juniperus woodland or F8.1 Canary Island xerophytic scrub.

Indicators of quality:

  • No forest exploitations in the majority of the area covered by the habitat
  • Intact natural hydrology
  • Natural composition of canopy
  • Structural diversity/ complexity with (semi)natural age structure or completeness of layers
  • Typical flora and fauna composition of the region
  • Presence of old trees and a variety of dead wood (lying or standing) and the associated flora, fauna and fungi
  • Presence of natural disturbance such as treefall openings with natural regeneration
  • Long historical continuity (ancient woodland) with high species diversity
  • Absence of non-native species (such as Opuntia spp. and Agave sp.) in all layers (flora & fauna)
  • Low cover of nitrophilous species of the Forskaleo-Rumicetalia lunariae

Characteristic species
For full habitat description, please download the habitat factsheet.

Threat status

Synthesis of Red List assessment

The habitat is assessed as Vulnerable (VU) as it has a very small distribution and range (AOO, EOO) combined with an experienced decline in quality during the last 50 years, which is expected to continue in future. The area of the habitat is more or less stable.
Red List Category Red List Criteria
Vulnerable B1, B2
Red List Category Red List Criteria
Vulnerable B1, B2

Confidence in the assessment

Red List of habitat categories and criteria descriptions

Pressures and threats

  • Urbanisation, residential and commercial development
    • Urbanised areas, human habitation
  • Invasive, other problematic species and genes
    • Genetic pollution (plants)
  • Natural System modifications
    • Water abstractions from groundwater

Habitat restoration potential

Based on expert judgement, the habitat recovers rather quickly.

Trends in extent

Average current trend in quantity

Increasing Increasing
EU28 EU28+

Trends in quality

Average current trend in quality

Stable Stable
EU28 EU28+

Conservation and management needs

The conservation and management actions suggested for the restoration of the Phoenix canariensis woodlands are mainly related to the pressures and threats that currently act or potentially could be applied.

List of conservation and management needs

  • Measures related to forests and wooded habitats
    • Restoring/Improving forest habitats
  • Measures related to wetland, freshwater and coastal habitats
    • Managing water abstraction


For each habitat a distribution map was produced from a wide variety of sources indicating known and potential occurrences of the habitat in 10x10 km grids within Europe. Occurrences in grid cells were given in two classes: actual distribution from relatively reliable sources (surveys, expert knowledge), and potential distribution based on models or less reliable indicators. Please download the fact sheet to see the map.

Geographic occurrence and trends

EU28 Present or presence uncertain Current area of habitat (Km2) Recent trend in quantity (last 50 years) Recent trend in quality (last 50 years)
Canary Islands Present 66.5 Increasing Increasing
EU28 + Present or presence uncertain Current area of habitat (Km2) Recent trend in quantity (last 50 years) Recent trend in quality (last 50 years)

Extent of Occurrence, Area of Occupancy and habitat area

Extent of Occurrence (EOO) (Km2) Area of Occupancy (AOO) Current estimated Total Area Comment
EU28 66.5
EU28+ 66.5
AOO = the area occupied by a habitat measured in number of 10x10 km grid cells.
EOO = the area (km2) of the envelope around all occurrences of a habitat (calculated by a minimum convex polygon).

Characteristic species

The full list of characteristic species and genus are available above from the Summary. The species available in the EUNIS database are shown here.
Flowering Plants Dracaena draco
Flowering Plants Periploca laevigata
Flowering Plants Phoenix canariensis
Species scientific name English common name Species group
Dracaena draco Flowering Plants
Periploca laevigata Flowering Plants
Phoenix canariensis Flowering Plants

Vegetation types

Relation to vegetation types (syntaxa)

Not available

Other classifications

This habitat may be equivalent to, or broather than, or narrower than the habitats or ecosystems in the following typologies.
Classification Code Habitat type name Relationship type
EUNIS Habitat Classification 200711 G2.5 Phoenix groves narrower
European Environment Agency (EEA)
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