Hawaiian Ecosystems at Risk project (HEAR) logo OISC target species
fire tree

fire tree/ firetree/ faya tree

Morella faya (Myricaceae)

Fire tree (Morella faya, previously Myrica faya) is capable of forming dense, single-species stands, devoid of all other plant life. Fire tree is designated a noxious weed PDF icon by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture. It is bird-dispersed and able to colonize a wide range of habitat due to its ability to alter soil chemistry.

Fire tree is a major habitat modifier because it significantly increases soil nitrogen levels. Not only does it successfully outcompete native plant species, but it also makes habitats more suitable for other invasive species because of increased soil fertility.

Fire tree is present on at least five of the main Hawaiian islands, but the species is especially widespread on the Big Island where hundreds of acres are already infested. Morella faya is known to be present on approximately 100 acres on Oahu. It is mainly confined to The Nature Conservancy's Honouliuli Preserve and adjacent lands in the Waianae Mountains. One lone tree was found in the northern Koolau Mountains and subsequently eliminated.

For more information:

  • Morella faya species information from Hawaii Ecosystems at Risk (HEAR)
Link to fire tree (Morella faya) images
fire tree
(Morella faya)

Map of Fire tree (Morella faya) distribution on Oahu (2002)

map of fire tree (Morella faya) distribution on Oahu (2002)

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The Hawaiian Ecosystems at Risk (HEAR) project is currently funded by the Pacific Basin Information Node (PBIN) of the National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) through PIERC (USGS) with support from HCSU (UH-Hilo). More details are available online. Pacific Basin Information Node (PBIN) National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII)

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The source material for the content of this page was provided by the OISC and edited by HEAR. Image credits: The Morella faya image is shown courtesty Kim and Forest Starr. The Oahu range map is from OISC. This page was created on 05 June 2003 by PT, and was last updated on 27 March 2007 by LF. Valid HTML 4.01!