Ocotea foetens

Ocotea foetens
Ocotea foetens
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Magnoliids
Order: Laurales
Family: Lauraceae
Genus: Ocotea
Species: O. foetens
Binomial name
Ocotea foetens
(Aiton) Benth. & Hook.f.

Ocotea foetens is a species of tree up to 40 m tall in the Lauraceae family. It is a common constituent in the laurisilva forests of the archipelagoes of Macaronesia: Madeira and Azores (Portugal), and Canaries (Spain). It is commonly called "Til", "Tilo", "Stinkwood", Garoé, Oreodaphne foetens or Rain tree of Hierro island. Each of these terms refers to unrelated plants depending on location or island. It is a species of plant in the genus Oreodaphne or Ocotea in the Lauraceae family.

It is an evergreen fragrant tree of considerable size, which is indigenous to Macaronesian archipelago. This tree is related with Oreodaphne Californica from California and Mexico and other tropical american species. It has also medicinal virtues like to California laurel. The tree, looking like a californian bay has a berries consumed mostly by endemic madeiran pigeon Columba trocaz.



Ocotea foetens, (Aiton) Benth. & Hook.f., is a species endemic of laurel of Macaronesia. Like the other species of Ocotea genus, is rich in essential oils, which give an unpleasant odor to the wood (hence the namefoetens' 'Latin forfoul). It is rarely used as an ornamental. It is a tree evergreen between 8 and 20-30 m in height, some specimens may reach 40 m. The trunk is rough and irregular, covered with a dark skin. The wood is dark and hard, releasing a characteristic odor when freshly cut. Are common examples with multiple stems or trunks strongly branched from the base. The young branches are slender, angular, with smooth integument, sometimes reddish areas of recent growth.

The leaves, with 9-12 long and 3-5 cm wide, are oblong-lanceolate to almost elliptical, acuminate and slightly cut at the base. In adult plants, the leaves are leathery in texture, glossy on both sides, dark green on the upper face more intense, with small blisters on the underside of the ribs under the armpits. The stem s are canicular and short (up to 15 mm in length).

The flower s of both sexes are white, with splashes of green and pale yellow, releasing a slight odor. The perianth is 6 pieces, and the male 9 yarn s. The maximum flowering season from June to August.

The fruit is a berry hard and fleshy with about 3 cm long, covered in its anterior half by a dome, giving it a look similar to a Acorn. The fruit is dark green, gradually darkening with maturity. The summit lenhifica up and hardens with ripening. The fruit has a single seed wrapped in a hard coat and slightly lignified. The fruits fall coming away from the dome, leaving a black past few days on the ground. The fruits are eaten several poultry and is important in the diet of wood pigeon. Germination is difficult and is favored by moisture and light. Seedlings tolerate evil shadow.


It is a species living in laurisilva, a type of laurel forest adapted to Macaronesian islands. It is found in Canary islands, Madeira, Azores. His name foetens refers to its unpleasant smell. It is threatened by habitat loss. The "Ocotea foetens" is endemic to Macaronesia: Madeira Azores and Canary Islands, appearing in laurel forest, generally between 400 and 1400 m altitude (between 200 and 700 m in the Azores). In the Canary Islands is present on all islands, except Lanzarote and Fuerteventura. In the archipelago of Madeira is absent from the Porto Santo.


It was a tree sacred to the Bimbaches, the older inhabitants of El Hierro in the Canary Islands and was one of its symbols. Due to its location, where tradewinds occur, the water from the clouds is condensed from the branches from the trees and it later pours rain around the island. This phenomenon takes place throughout the Canary Islands. The legend asserts that the Garoé was a large laurel tree that assured the life of the Bimbaches, providing them water in sufficient amounts for their survival. The Bimbaches later filled water chaffs and water was transported to towns to all parts of the island.

One of many legends says that the water originating from the tree was led to a hole from which the Bimbaches could provide water. It was from this form as they managed to reject the Castilian or Spanish invasion for a certain period of time.

The original tree fell in a storm in 1610. In 1957, another laural was planted in the same location as the Garoé. It has been growing and is presently surrounded by mosses. Clouds continue to pass through the summits of the island and, during foggy days, produce the observable phenomenon of horizontal rain. As it happens with all the legends, the Garoé has been left in herreña conscience as a sacred tree able to provide water to the island.



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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Ocotea foetens —   Til …   Wikipedia Español

  • Ocotea foetens — ID 56792 Symbol Key OCFO3 Common Name N/A Family Lauraceae Category Dicot Division Magnoliophyta US Nativity Cultivated, or not in the U.S. US/NA Plant Yes State Distribution N/A Growth Habit N/A …   USDA Plant Characteristics

  • Ocotea foetens — Til tree Til tree (t[i^]l; t[=e]l). (Bot.) (a) Var. of {Teil tree}. (b) An ill smelling lauraceous tree ({Ocotea f[oe]tens}) of the Canary Islands; sometimes distinguished as {Canary Island til tree}. [Webster 1913 Suppl.] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Ocotea foetens (Aiton) Baill. — Symbol OCFO3 Botanical Family Lauraceae …   Scientific plant list

  • Ocotea foetens (Aiton) Baill. — Symbol OCFO3 Botanical Family Lauraceae …   Scientific plant list

  • Ocotea — Tilo (Ocotea foetens) in Terra Chã (Azores). Scientific classification Kingdom …   Wikipedia

  • Ocotea —   Ocotea Oc …   Wikipedia Español

  • Ocotĕa — Aubl., Gattung der Laurazeen, Bäume oder Sträucher mit lederartigen, fiedernervigen, abwechselnden Blättern, meist polygamdiözischen Blüten und nach der Blütezeit anschwellendem Blütenboden. Etwa 200 Arten. O. bullata Benth. in Südafrika und O.… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Oreodaphne — Tilo (Oreodaphne foetens) in Terra Chã (Azores). Scientific classification Kingdom …   Wikipedia

  • Окотея зловонная — Научная кл …   Википедия

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