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Widespread and fairly common in cloud forests in the high Andes, this small shrub or tree rarely over 10 m tall is found in Costa Rica and from Venezuela to Bolivia between 1200 and 3900 m. Similar to the bay tree (though not related), it has dark green, laurel-like leaves that have an aromatic smell when crushed. The greenish flowers are followed by small, black fruits that are covered in a thick layer of high quality wax. Morella pubescens is a fast growing pioneer species usually found in secondary or disturbed vegetation. It is closely related and quite similar to Morella parvifolia but easily distinguished by its leaves generally longer than 7 cm, while those of Morella parvifolia never reach more than 6 cm long. It makes a nice ornamental for warm temperate climates and is useful for erosion control and the first stage of reforestation even on poor, rocky soils.