Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Datasheet

Prunus serotina
(black cherry)

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Datasheet

Prunus serotina (black cherry)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 08 November 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Host Plant
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Prunus serotina
  • Preferred Common Name
  • black cherry
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Dicotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • P. serotina is a species with rapid growth, persistence in shaded sites, a hermaphrodite reproductive system, high seed production and the ability to disperse its seeds through avian and mammalian vectors. ...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Prunus serotina (Black cherry) in the Botanical Garden of Agricultural University in Poznan, Poland.
TitleTree habit
CaptionPrunus serotina (Black cherry) in the Botanical Garden of Agricultural University in Poznan, Poland.
CopyrightPiotr Robakowski
Prunus serotina (Black cherry) in the Botanical Garden of Agricultural University in Poznan, Poland.
Tree habitPrunus serotina (Black cherry) in the Botanical Garden of Agricultural University in Poznan, Poland.Piotr Robakowski
Unripe fruit and leaves of Prunus serotina (Black cherry) in the Botanical Garden of Agricultural University in Poznan, Poland.  June 1999.
TitleLeaves
CaptionUnripe fruit and leaves of Prunus serotina (Black cherry) in the Botanical Garden of Agricultural University in Poznan, Poland. June 1999.
CopyrightPiotr Robakowski
Unripe fruit and leaves of Prunus serotina (Black cherry) in the Botanical Garden of Agricultural University in Poznan, Poland.  June 1999.
LeavesUnripe fruit and leaves of Prunus serotina (Black cherry) in the Botanical Garden of Agricultural University in Poznan, Poland. June 1999.Piotr Robakowski
Underside of Prunus serotina (Black cherry) leaf showing characteristic reddish-brown pubescence visible along the lower half of the midrib.
TitleLeaves
CaptionUnderside of Prunus serotina (Black cherry) leaf showing characteristic reddish-brown pubescence visible along the lower half of the midrib.
CopyrightPiotr Robakowski
Underside of Prunus serotina (Black cherry) leaf showing characteristic reddish-brown pubescence visible along the lower half of the midrib.
LeavesUnderside of Prunus serotina (Black cherry) leaf showing characteristic reddish-brown pubescence visible along the lower half of the midrib.Piotr Robakowski

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Prunus serotina Ehrh.

Preferred Common Name

  • black cherry

Other Scientific Names

  • Cerasus capollin Ser. ex DC.
  • Cerasus longifolius Nutt. ex Torr. & A. Gray
  • Cerasus serotina (Ehrh.) Loisel.
  • Padus serotina (Ehrh.) Borkh.
  • Prunus capuli Cav.
  • Prunus salicifolia Kunth

International Common Names

  • English: black cherry; black cherry tree; wild black cherry; wild cherry
  • Spanish: capulí; cereza silvestre negra; cerezo americano; cerezo negro; cerezo negro americano
  • French: capulin; cerisier noir; cerisier tardif; merisier d’Amérique
  • Russian: cherëmukha pozdnyaya

Local Common Names

  • Canada: cerisier d'automne
  • Denmark: Amerikansk kirsebærtræ; glansbladet hæg; sildig hæg
  • Finland: Kiiltotuomi; Syystuomi
  • Germany: Ahlkirsche; Amerikanische Traubenkirsche; Elsenkirsche; Spätbluehender Trauben- Kirschbaum; Spätblühende Traubenkirsche; Spätblühende Traubenkirsche; Später Traubenkirschbaum
  • Italy: ciliegio nero; ciliegio tardivo; prugnolo tardivo; pruno tardivo
  • Netherlands: Amerikaanse vogelkers; Amerikaanse vogelkerseboom
  • Norway: Romhegg
  • Poland: czeremcha amerykanska; czeremcha pózna
  • Romania: malin American
  • Sweden: Amerikanskt körsbärsträd; Glanshägg
  • UK: American bird cherry; capulin cherry
  • USA: cabinet cherry; capulin black cherry; escarpment cherry; mountain black cherry; rum cherry

EPPO code

  • PRNSA (Prunus salicifolia)
  • PRNSO (Prunus serotina)

Subspecies

  • Prunus serotina subsp. capuli
  • Prunus serotina subsp. serotina

Summary of Invasiveness

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P. serotina is a species with rapid growth, persistence in shaded sites, a hermaphrodite reproductive system, high seed production and the ability to disperse its seeds through avian and mammalian vectors. P. serotina has become invasive in several northern and central European countries where it reduces the biodiversity of native woodland assemblages and impedes forestry production.

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Dicotyledonae
  •                     Order: Rosales
  •                         Family: Rosaceae
  •                             Genus: Prunus
  •                                 Species: Prunus serotina

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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Prunus is a large genus containing many fruit tree species of global economic importance. USDA-NRCS (2004) provides North American distribution maps for the four varieties P. serotina var. eximia, P. serotina var. rufula, P. serotina var. serotina and P. serotina var. virens, though names and numbers of varieties vary between authors.

Description

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P. serotina is a deciduous, single-stemmed, medium- to large-sized tree. In mixed hardwood forest it can also be a small, contorted, short-lived understorey tree or shrub. In the eastern USA, P. serotina achieves typically 38 m in height and 1.2 m or more in diameter. South-western varieties are much smaller (Uchytil, 1991). In Central Europe, P. serotina is mostly a shrub, rarely a tree up to 20 m in height (Tomanek, 1994). The following description is from Weber (2003): leaves oblong-ovate to lanceolate-oblong, with toothed edges, bright green above, pale green below. White flowers 8-10 mm in diameter growing in cylindrical racemes 6-15 cm long, each with approximately 30 flowers. Fruits are purple-black drupes of 8-10 mm diameter.

Plant Type

Top of page Broadleaved
Perennial
Seed propagated
Shrub
Tree
Woody

Distribution

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P. serotina is native to North America between 49°N and 30°N. Its range comprises central and eastern states of the USA and south-eastern parts of Canada; from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick west to Southern Quebec and Ontario into Michigan and eastern Minnesota, south to Iowa, extreme eastern Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas, and east to central Florida.

Several varieties of P. serotina grow outside of this range (Marquis, 1990): P. serotina var. serotina is also found in Mexico; P. serotina var. eximia grows in central Texas on the Edwards Plateau and the Balcones Escarpment; P. serotina var. rufula and P. serotina var. virens range from the mountains of Trans-Pecos Texas west to Arizona and south into Mexico; and P. serotina subsp. capuli is native only to southern Mexico and Guatemala (McVaugh, 1951; Marquis, 1990; USDA-NRCS, 2014). In some parts of the native range, P. serotina is also listed as a weedy species (McVaugh, 1951; Mulligan and Munro, 1981).

Individuals of P. serotina are, in natural conditions, scattered among other species or even form nearly pure stands at high elevations with impeded drainage (Hough, 1965; Marquis, 1990).

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasivePlantedReferenceNotes

Asia

Georgia (Republic of)Unconfirmed recordEPPO, 2014
PhilippinesPresentIntroduced1924Vanhellemont, 2009

Africa

South AfricaPresent, few occurrencesIntroducedSANBI, 2014Naturalised

North America

CanadaPresentNative Natural EPPO, 2014
-British ColumbiaPresentIntroducedKlinkenberg, 2014; USDA-NRCS, 2014
-New BrunswickPresentNativePlanted, Natural
-Nova ScotiaPresentNativePlanted, Natural
-OntarioPresentNativePlanted, Natural
-QuebecPresentNativePlanted, Natural
MexicoPresentNative Natural EPPO, 2014
USAWidespreadNative Natural EPPO, 2014
-AlabamaPresentNativePlanted, NaturalUSDA-NRCS, 2014
-ArizonaPresentNativePlanted, NaturalUSDA-NRCS, 2014
-ArkansasPresentNativePlanted, NaturalUSDA-NRCS, 2014
-ConnecticutPresentNative Planted USDA-NRCS, 2014
-DelawarePresentNative Planted USDA-NRCS, 2014
-District of ColumbiaPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2014
-FloridaPresentNativePlanted, NaturalUSDA-NRCS, 2014
-GeorgiaPresentNative Planted USDA-NRCS, 2014
-IllinoisPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2014
-IndianaPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2014
-IowaPresentNativePlanted, NaturalUSDA-NRCS, 2014
-KansasPresentNativePlanted, NaturalUSDA-NRCS, 2014
-KentuckyPresentNativePlanted, NaturalUSDA-NRCS, 2014
-LouisianaPresentNativePlanted, NaturalUSDA-NRCS, 2014
-MainePresentNativePlanted, NaturalUSDA-NRCS, 2014
-MarylandUnconfirmed recordNative Planted USDA-NRCS, 2014
-MassachusettsPresentNative Planted USDA-NRCS, 2014
-MichiganPresentNativePlanted, NaturalUSDA-NRCS, 2014
-MinnesotaPresentNativePlanted, NaturalUSDA-NRCS, 2014
-MississippiPresentNative Planted USDA-NRCS, 2014
-MissouriPresentNativePlanted, NaturalUSDA-NRCS, 2014
-NebraskaPresentNativePlanted, NaturalUSDA-NRCS, 2014
-New HampshirePresentNativePlanted, NaturalUSDA-NRCS, 2014
-New JerseyPresentNative Planted USDA-NRCS, 2014
-New MexicoPresentNativePlanted, NaturalUSDA-NRCS, 2014
-New YorkPresentNativePlanted, NaturalUSDA-NRCS, 2014
-North CarolinaPresentNativePlanted, NaturalUSDA-NRCS, 2014
-North DakotaPresentNative Planted USDA-NRCS, 2014
-OhioPresentNativePlanted, NaturalUSDA-NRCS, 2014
-OklahomaPresentNativePlanted, NaturalUSDA-NRCS, 2014
-PennsylvaniaPresentNativePlanted, NaturalUSDA-NRCS, 2014
-Rhode IslandPresentNativePlanted, NaturalUSDA-NRCS, 2014
-South CarolinaPresentNativePlanted, NaturalUSDA-NRCS, 2014
-TennesseePresentNativePlanted, NaturalUSDA-NRCS, 2014
-TexasPresentNativePlanted, NaturalUSDA-NRCS, 2014
-VermontPresentNative Planted USDA-NRCS, 2014
-VirginiaPresentNativePlanted, NaturalUSDA-NRCS, 2014
-WashingtonPresent, few occurrencesIntroducedConsortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria, 2014; USDA-NRCS, 2014
-West VirginiaPresentNativePlanted, NaturalUSDA-NRCS, 2014
-WisconsinPresentNativeCurtis, 1959; USDA-NRCS, 2004

Central America and Caribbean

GuatemalaPresentPlanted, NaturalEPPO, 2014

South America

BoliviaPresentIntroduced1500sVanhellemont, 2009Naturalised
ColombiaPresentIntroduced1500sVanhellemont, 2009Naturalised
EcuadorPresentIntroduced Planted EPPO, 2014
PeruPresentIntroduced Planted EPPO, 2014
VenezuelaPresentIntroduced1500sVanhellemont, 2009Naturalised

Europe

AustriaPresentIntroduced Planted EPPO, 2014
BelarusPresentIntroduced Planted EPPO, 2014
BelgiumPresentIntroduced Invasive Planted Belgian Forum on Invasive Alien Species, 2003; Vanhellemont, 2009; EPPO, 2014
Bosnia-HercegovinaPresentIntroduced Planted EPPO, 2014
BulgariaPresentIntroduced Planted EPPO, 2014
CroatiaPresentIntroduced Planted EPPO, 2014
Czech RepublicRestricted distributionIntroduced1811 Invasive Vanhellemont, 2009; EPPO, 2014
DenmarkWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Andersen , 1995; Vanhellemont, 2009; EPPO, 2014
EstoniaPresentIntroduced1932Vanhellemont, 2009
FinlandPresentIntroducedVanhellemont, 2009
FranceRestricted distributionVanhellemont, 2009; EPPO, 2014
GermanyPresentIntroduced Invasive Kowarik, 1995; Starfinger, 2004; EPPO, 2014
HungaryPresentIntroduced Planted EPPO, 2014
ItalyRestricted distributionIntroduced1922 Invasive Vanhellemont, 2009; EPPO, 2014
LatviaPresentIntroduced1805Vanhellemont, 2009
LithuaniaPresentIntroduced Planted EPPO, 2014
LuxembourgPresentIntroduced Planted EPPO, 2014
NetherlandsPresentIntroduced1740 Invasive Planted Cronk and Fuller , 1995; EPPO, 2014
NorwayPresent, few occurrencesIntroduced Planted EPPO, 2014
PolandPresentIntroduced1813 Invasive Vanhellemont, 2009; EPPO, 2014
RomaniaPresentIntroducedVanhellemont, 2009; Pairon et al., 2010; EPPO, 2014
SerbiaPresentIntroduced Planted EPPO, 2014
SlovakiaPresentIntroduced Planted EPPO, 2014
SloveniaPresentIntroduced Planted EPPO, 2014
SpainPresentIntroduced Planted EPPO, 2014
SwedenPresentIntroduced Planted EPPO, 2014
SwitzerlandPresentIntroduced Invasive Planted Köhler , 2003; EPPO, 2014
UKPresentIntroduced Invasive Planted Cronk and Fuller , 1995; EPPO, 2014
-England and WalesPresentEPPO, 2014
UkrainePresentIntroduced Planted EPPO, 2014

Oceania

AustraliaPresent, few occurrencesIntroducedAtlas of Living Australia, 2014
New ZealandPresent, few occurrencesIntroducedVanhellemont, 2009; Allan Herbarium, 2014

History of Introduction and Spread

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P. serotina has been cultivated since early times in Mexico and Guatemala. It was introduced in the 1500s to Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia, probably by Spanish conquistadores, where it is now extensively naturalized.

P. serotina was among the first American trees to be cultivated as an ornamental in European gardens. It was introduced to France between 1623 (Wein, 1930) and 1629 (Goeze, 1916), to England in 1629 (Hough, 1957), to Germany in 1685 (Wein, 1930) and has subsequently been planted in many other European countries for various purposes, including ornamental purposes, timber production and soil amelioration (Starfinger et al., 2003).

Vanhellemont (2009) suggested two distinct main pathways for the introduction of P. serotina into Europe: for ornamental purposes and for forestry use. The two introduction pathways are also reflected in the status of P. serotina in European countries. It is considered an invasive species in those countries in which it was introduced early and for forestry use, as both residence time and propagule pressure have been found to promote the invasiveness of a species. As a consequence, the present distribution of P. serotina still largely reflects the former planting efforts, such as in the Netherlands (Van den Tweel and Eijsackers, 1987), Germany (Starfinger et al., 2003) and northern Belgium (Verheyen et al., 2007).

The large range extension of P. serotina is due to planting rather than dispersal by natural means. Dispersal distances in Germany appear to be limited to less than 1 km in 40 years (Starfinger et al., 2003). Dispersal speed is higher in open landscapes, managed and disturbed forsts (e.g. after thinning) than in natural forests (Starfinger et al., 2003; Deckers et al., 2005). Vanhellemont et al. (2009) confirmed that invasive spread potential is not as high as was often assumed.

Kowarik (1995) reported that it is one of the most frequently encountered exotic invasives in the Brandenburg area of Germany. At that location there was an estimated lag time of 29 years between first introduction and the first report of the species spread (Kowarik, 1995). Disturbance events promote the spread of P. serotina (Kowarik, 1995). Info Flora (2014) listed it among rare but spreading 'grey list neophytes' in Switzerland. Similarly it appears on a list of invasive species for Belgium (Belgian Forum on Invasive Alien Species, 2003) and on the list of ‘100 of the worst’ invasive species in Europe (DAISIE, 2009).

Introductions

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Introduced toIntroduced fromYearReasonIntroduced byEstablished in wild throughReferencesNotes
Natural reproductionContinuous restocking
Australia   Ornamental purposes (pathway cause) No Atlas of Living Australia (2014)
Austria   Ornamental purposes (pathway cause) Yes Essl and Rabitsch (2002); Maurer (1996) Considered naturalized in 1970; occurs on a national list with potentially invasive species
Belgium   Forestry (pathway cause) ,
Ornamental purposes (pathway cause)
Yes Belgian Forum Invasive Alien Species on (2014); Landuyt et al. (2006) 1890 first observation in the wild
Bolivia Mexico 16th cent Horticulture (pathway cause) Yes McVaugh (1951); Morton (1987) Introduced probably by the Spanish conquistadores
Colombia Mexico 16th cent Horticulture (pathway cause) Yes McVaugh (1951); Morton (1987) Introduced probably by the Spanish conquistadores
Czech Republic 1811 Forestry (pathway cause) ,
Ornamental purposes (pathway cause)
Yes Krivánek (2006) Restricted distribution; invasive only in some areas
Denmark   Hedges and windbreaks (pathway cause) Yes Andersen (1995); Vanhellemont et al. (2009)
Ecuador Mexico 16th cent Horticulture (pathway cause) Yes McVaugh (1951); Morton (1987) Introduced probably by the Spanish conquistadores
England and Wales 1629 Ornamental purposes (pathway cause) Yes Gateway (2014); Hough (1957); Vanhellemont et al. (2009)
Estonia 1932 Ornamental purposes (pathway cause)Estonian alien species database (2014)
Finland   No Vanhellemont (2009)
France 1623-1629 Forestry (pathway cause) ,
Ornamental purposes (pathway cause)
Yes Decocq (2007); Goeze (1916); Vanhellemont (2009); Wein (1930) Restricted distribution; invasive only in some areas
Germany 1685 Forestry (pathway cause) ,
Ornamental purposes (pathway cause)
Yes Kowarik (2010); Starfinger and Kowarik (2003); Wein (1930)
Hungary 1897 Forestry (pathway cause) ,
Ornamental purposes (pathway cause)
Yes Balogh et al. (2008)
Italy 1922 Forestry (pathway cause) ,
Ornamental purposes (pathway cause)
Yes Caronni (2010); Celesti-Grapow et al. (2009); Sartori (1988) Restricted distribution; in Northern Italy widespread and invasive
Latvia 1805 Ornamental purposes (pathway cause) No Vanhellemont (2009)
Lithuania   Ornamental purposes (pathway cause) Yes Gudzinskas (2000) Restricted distribution; naturalized in some parts
Luxembourg   Ornamental purposes (pathway cause) Yes Welter et al. (2008) Restricted distribution; naturalized in some parts
Netherlands 1740 Forestry (pathway cause) Yes Starfinger and Kowarik (2003); Vanhellemont et al. (2009) Considered a forest pest since the 1960’s
New Zealand   Ornamental purposes (pathway cause) No Allan Herbarium (2014); National Research Council (1989) National Research Council (1989) stated that P. serotina was introduced “recently” to New Zealand
Norway   Ornamental purposes (pathway cause) Yes Vanhellemont (2009) Considered naturalized near Kristiansand in the southern part of Norway in 1980
Peru Mexico 16th cent Horticulture (pathway cause) Yes McVaugh (1951); Morton (1987) Introduced probably by the Spanish conquistadores
Philippines Mexico 1924 Horticulture (pathway cause)Morton (1987) Introduced into cool medium elevations of the Philippines
Poland 1813 Forestry (pathway cause) Yes Tokarska-Guzik et al. (2008)
Romania   Forestry (pathway cause) ,
Ornamental purposes (pathway cause)
Yes Muys et al. (1992); Vanhellemont (2009) Planted for forestry purposes since the 1980
Scotland No
Scotland   Ornamental purposes (pathway cause) No Gateway (2014)
Serbia >1900 Forestry (pathway cause) ,
Ornamental purposes (pathway cause)
No There is one known forest plantation with P. serotina in Serbia
Slovakia >1900 Ornamental purposes (pathway cause)Cvachová et al. (2003); Vanhellemont et al. (2009) Occurs on a national list with potentially invasive species
Slovenia >1900 Ornamental purposes (pathway cause) No Jogan (2001)
Spain   Ornamental purposes (pathway cause) No Dana et al. (2004) Occurs on a national list with potentially invasive species
Sweden 1870 Ornamental purposes (pathway cause) Yes Vanhellemont (2009) Restricted distribution; naturalized in southern Sweden
Switzerland   Ornamental purposes (pathway cause) Yes Info Flora (2014) Restricted distribution; appears on the national black list
Switzerland   Yes Wittenberg (2005)
UK 1629 Ornamental purposes (pathway cause) Yes Cronk and Fuller (1995); Cronk and Fuller (1995); Gateway (2014)
Ukraine   Ornamental purposes (pathway cause) No Vanhellemont et al. (2009)
Venezuela Mexico 16th cent Horticulture (pathway cause) Yes McVaugh (1951); Morton (1987) Introduced probably by the Spanish conquistadores

Risk of Introduction

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The invasive behavior of P. serotina in several northern and central European countries should be taken into account when considering future introductions to moist, temperate climates. It has not yet reached its potential range in Europe (e.g. Verheyen et al., 2007) and shows a clear range expansion (DAISIE, 2009). Initial stages of colonisation are weakly affected by soil but strongly by light conditions.

Habitat

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In its exotic range, P. serotina may invade semi-natural or managed woodland, particularly on acid sandy soils (Cronk and Fuller, 1995). It establishes in forests, forest clearings and margins, often following a disturbance event (Cronk and Fuller, 1995; Weber, 2003).

In Europe, P. serotina occurs in both forests and in open vegetation. It reaches its highest cover values in stands of shade-intolerant trees such as oak, pine or birch. In the dense shade of beech, maple or hornbeam it does not grow well. It tolerates a wide range of moisture conditions and can invade wetlands but also dry grassland too dry for most other woody plants. It is sometimes planted in hedgerows. P. serotina also common in urban areas, parks and gardens, particularly in less intensively managed situations (NOBANIS, 2014).

Habitat List

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CategorySub-CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Terrestrial
 
Terrestrial – ManagedCultivated / agricultural land Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Managed forests, plantations and orchards Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalNatural forests Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Natural grasslands Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Wetlands Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)

Biology and Ecology

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Genetics

P. serotina is allotetraploid and has high genetic diversity (Pairon, 2007). There are four varieties described in the USA: P. serotina var. eximia, P. serotina var. rufula, P. serotina var. serotina and P. serotina var. virens (USDA-NRCS, 2014). One subspecies, P. serotina subsp. capuli, was described for Mexico and Guatemala by Marquis (1990) and USDA-NRCS (2014). This indicates a wide variation in morphological characters. No known breeding programmes have been undertaken, however. The variety introduced to Europe was probably P. serotina var. serotina (Vanhellemont, 2009).

Ecology

In its native range, P. serotina has been classified as an opportunistic, fast-growing tree species with enough shade tolerance to persist in lower canopy positions (Sutherland et al., 2000). It is a typical gap-phase species (Curtis, 1959) that can regenerate in forest understories but needs more light for further growth (Auclair and Cottam, 1971; Starfinger, 1990; Closset-Kopp et al., 2007). Weber (2003) described it as a fast growing species with saplings that can take advantage of canopy gaps for rapid growth, having previously persisted in shaded conditions for some time. It is also classified as a stress-tolerant ruderal (Grime, 2001).

Closset-Kopp et al. (2007) demonstrated that the r- and K-strategies of MacArthur and Wilson (see Grime 2001) both apply to P. serotina, but to different life stages of the species. P. serotina behaves as a K-strategist in its early life stages, when seedlings and saplings of P. serotina are able to persist in forest understories. Adults of P. serotina can be considered r-strategists as they tend to maximize population growth and dispersal (Vanhellemont, 2009).

Reproductive Biology

P. serotina has a hermaphroditic breeding system (Cronk and Fuller, 1995). Reproduction is from seed, which the species is capable of producing large numbers of (Cronk and Fuller, 1995), or vegetatively (by sprouting). In natural stands, 30 to 100-year-old trees have the highest production of seeds, but Kowarik (1995) indicated that seed production begins at a relatively young age (at about 7 years). Seeds are dispersed by gravity and by animals and require cold stratification to germinate. Seeds that have passed through the digestive tracts of birds have higher germination rates than undigested ones (Smith, 1975).

Physiology and Phenology

The flowers appear after the leaves, from the end of March in Texas (USA) to the first week of June in Quebec (Canada) (Vanhellemont, 2009). In its introduced range it flowers in May-June (Closset-Kopp et al., 2007; Phartyal et al., 2009). The flowers are pollinated by generalist insects such as hoverflies and bees (Grisez et al., 2003; Starfinger and Kowarik, 2003). The fruiting period lasted from August to September in an open landscape in Belgium (Deckers et al., 2008) and from September to November in forest understories in Belgium (Pairon et al., 2006) and France (Boucault, 2009). The dates of flowering and fruit ripening may differ by up to three weeks among individuals of P. serotina growing in the same location (Grisez et al., 2003), and fecundity also varies between trees (Pairon et al., 2006). Some trees never produce high quantities of seeds, even in favourable conditions (Marquis, 1990).

Seeds remain viable for 3 up to 5 years in the native range (Marquis, 1975) and introduced range (Eijsackers and Van de Ham, 1990). The short-lived persistent seed bank ensures that P. serotina regeneration appears abundantly almost every year (Marquis, 1990). Germination is higher in litter than in mineral soil. In shaded forest understories, seedlings grow slowly but are able to survive for up to 5 years (Marquis, 1990). Methods of fruit collecting, extraction of seeds, storage and nursery practice are described by Schopmeyer (1974). Treatment of seeds and silvicultural methods were discussed by Marquis (1990).

Environmental Requirements

P. serotina grows well in temperate and moist climates. The best growth conditions in its native range occur on the Allegheny Plateau of Pennsylvania and New York, USA (Marquis, 1990). Mean annual temperatures where the species is found are below 24°C, but it will tolerate maximum temperatures above 29°C and an absolute minimum of -40°C. Preferred mean annual rainfall is approximately 1000 mm, with a dry season not exceeding 4 months.

In Europe, P. serotina grows and proliferates in a climate characterized by a higher evapotranspiration and a lower annual precipitation that is more evenly distributed throughout the year than in North America. Here P. serotina is mostly found in oceanic and sub-oceanic climate conditions, but does not occur abundantly in the Mediterranean region, probably because of the dry summer conditions (Zerbe and Wirth, 2006).

P. serotina occurs on a variety of soils except for extreme wet or dry ones. The species is tolerant to various ground water conditions, although its productivity decreases on wet sites and it is intolerant of flooding (Marquis, 1990; Becker et al., 1997). It grows better on moderate and lower parts of the eastern or northern slopes than on dry soils exposed to the south or west (Marquis, 1990).

P. serotina most frequently occurs on very acid and relatively infertile soils (Ciolkosz et al., 1970; Marquis, 1990). Preferred soil texture ranges from sandy loam to silty clay loam. In Europe, P. serotina is found on acid to nearly neutral soils, nitrogen poor to relatively rich, and moderately moist soils (Zerbe and Wirth 2006). It is most common on acid and dry sandy soils (Starfinger, 1997). Podzolic soils are particularly prone to P. serotina invasion (Verheyen et al., 2007). On wet or calcareous soils, P. serotina is mostly absent (Decocq, 2007). On richer soils, the competition with other species may be too intense (Van den Tweel and Eijsackers, 1987).

Individuals of P. serotina are, in natural conditions, scattered among other species or even form nearly pure stands at high elevations with impeded drainage (Hough, 1965; Marquis, 1990).

Latitude/Altitude Ranges

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Latitude North (°N)Latitude South (°S)Altitude Lower (m)Altitude Upper (m)
49 30 300 1700

Air Temperature

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Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Absolute minimum temperature (ºC) -40
Mean annual temperature (ºC) 24
Mean maximum temperature of hottest month (ºC) 27 29
Mean minimum temperature of coldest month (ºC) -11 -6

Rainfall

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ParameterLower limitUpper limitDescription
Dry season duration04number of consecutive months with <40 mm rainfall
Mean annual rainfall9701120mm; lower/upper limits

Rainfall Regime

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Soil Tolerances

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Soil drainage

  • free
  • impeded

Soil reaction

  • acid
  • very acid

Soil texture

  • light
  • medium

Special soil tolerances

  • infertile

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Chondrostereum purpureum Pathogen Netherlands

Notes on Natural Enemies

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Pathogens and herbivores that affect the commercial production of P. serotina include the fungi Armillaria mellea, Blumieriella jaapii, Coniophora puteana and Valsa leucostoma. Pythium spp., a water mould, is known to be responsible for low densities of seedlings near conspecifics of P. serotina in its native range on silt loam soils (Packer and Clay, 2003). In Europe, older trees of P. serotina are often infested by the parasitic fungi Chondrostereum purpureum, which seems to increase the trees’ life-expectancy (Kowarik 2010).

Insects from several orders feed on P. serotina, including Malacosoma americanum, Phloeotribus liminaris and Synanthedon pictipes. Furcipus rectirostris, a snout beetle native to Europe and northeastern Asia, predates P. serotina seeds in Belgium, France, and the Netherlands. The North American fruit fly Rhagoletis cingulata, the larvae of which develop in P. serotina fruits. R. cingulata is a quarantine species in Europe, but it has been found in the Netherlands, Switzerland, Italy and Germany (Vanhellemont, 2009). A suite of native polyphagous Lepidoptera and Coleoptera feed on the non-native P. serotina in Poland and France. An overview of insect damage on P. serotina in the USA can be found in Marquis (1990).

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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P. serotina seeds are dispersed by gravity and by animals. Birds and mammals can effectively disperse the seeds over 100 m (Pairon, 2007; Boucault, 2009). Seeds that have passed through the digestive tracts of mammals and birds have higher germination rates than undigested ones (Smith, 1975). Mammals that eat the fruit and spread the seeds include foxes, wild boar, deer and martens (Starfinger, 2004; Boucault, 2009). 

Pathway Causes

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CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
ForestryAt the end of the 18th century, P. serotina was recommended as a timber tree for poor soils and was Yes Starfinger et al., 2003; Vanhellemont, 2009
Horticulture Yes Morton, 1987
Ornamental purposesUntil the late 18th century, P. serotina was sparsely planted in parks and gardens in several Europe Yes Starfinger et al., 2003; Vanhellemont et al., 2009

Pathway Vectors

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VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Host and vector organismsBirds, mammals, small, seed-catching rodents and the dung beetle Trypocopris vernalis Yes Yes Boucault, 2009; Smith, 1975; Vanhellemont, 2009
LivestockCattle are reported to eat P. serotina fruits Yes Yes Ehrenburg et al., 2008
WindThe bulk of the fruits, i.e., up to 95 %, fall within the first 5–10 m of the seed tree in forests Yes Hoppes, 1988

Impact Summary

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CategoryImpact
Animal/plant collections None
Animal/plant products None
Biodiversity (generally) Negative
Crop production None
Environment (generally) Negative
Fisheries / aquaculture None
Forestry production Negative
Human health None
Livestock production None
Native fauna None
Native flora Negative
Rare/protected species None
Tourism None
Trade/international relations None
Transport/travel None

Economic Impact

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Repeated control attempts following resprouting from cut stumps and recurring seed spread by birds and mammals will incur an economic cost. According to different authors, the measures for P. serotina control can cost between €50 and €2200 per ha per year, depending on the abundance and size of the P. serotina (Starfinger et al., 2003; Van Raffe and De Jong, 2008; Caronni, 2010). In Germany, Reinhardt et al. (2003) estimated the total annual costs to be €25 million. In Belgium, € 126 000 were spent on P. serotina control in six military domains (totalling 1,525 ha) in 2005 and 2006 (De Bruyn et al., 2007). In a floodplain biosphere reserve in Northern Italy, € 830 000 were spent for P. serotina management (514 ha) between 1997/98 and 2007/2008 (Caronni, 2010).

Environmental Impact

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In many places P. serotina has become naturalized and appears to be a highly invasive neophyte. P. serotina is known as an aggressive colonizer, overtopping other species of tree. Dense thickets of P. serotina can change abiotic site conditions and considerably inhibit development of seedlings of other species, reducing floral diversity and making natural and artificial forest regeneration difficult (Verheyen et al., 2007). The leaves, bark and seeds of P. serotina are poisonous (Stephens, 1980) and may cause sickness or even death among some animals, although many species feed on the fruit (Kingsbury, 1964). The invasive character of P. serotina which has been naturalized in Europe's autogenic plant communities is an significant problem in nature protection and silviculture.

Vanhellemont (2009) summarized the environmental impacts as follows:

‘Dense thickets of P. serotina alter the light conditions and modify the topsoil (Godefroid et al., 2005; Verheyen et al., 2007). P. serotina may affect the topsoil through changes in the humus conditions and reduced soil water availability due to a higher interception and transpiration. The litter of P. serotina is indeed characterized by high nutrient concentrations and decomposes rapidly (e.g. Lorenz et al., 2004). The phosphorus content has been found to be higher below P. serotina (e.g. Chabrerie et al., 2008). The pH of the litter layer and the upper soil layer below P. serotina was lower (Starfinger et al., 2003; Chabrerie et al., 2008), similar (Verheyen et al., 2007) or higher (e.g. Vanderhoeven et al., 2005) than in non-invaded stands.

Studies on the relationship between P. serotina and understory species richness do not reveal consistent results. In several studies, species richness was negatively correlated with P. serotina abundance (Starfinger, 1990; Godefroid et al., 2005; Chabrerie et al., 2007). However, other studies found little impact of P. serotina on species diversity (Vanderhoeven et al., 2005; Chabrerie et al., 2008), and Knight et al. (2008) even found a positive relationship between understory species richness and abundance of P. serotina seedlings. Verheyen et al. (2007) found the sharpest decrease in species numbers on wet soils. On dry soils, the species richness was only marginally affected, but the species composition did change: stress-tolerant species disappeared, and competitors became more important (Godefroid et al., 2005; Verheyen et al., 2007). By altering the structure of the vegetation, P. serotina might also alter the habitat conditions for fauna: the dense P. serotina thickets provide shelter and produce fruits (Starfinger and Kowarik, 2003; Boucault 2009). Lepidoptera seem to be attracted to ripe P. serotina fruits (Korringa, 1947). Several arthropods typical of dead wood of broadleaved species occur in dead wood of P. serotina, which is often the only broadleaved species in invaded pine forests (Geudens, 1997).

In open vegetation types such as dunes, heathlands, and dry grasslands, P. serotina accelerates the succession towards vegetation types dominated by woody species, which might cause rare and endangered species of open habitats to disappear (Starfinger et al., 2003; Kowarik, 2010). In forests, the dense shrub layer of P. serotina might act as a recalcitrant layer that hinders the regeneration of other woody species and may have a long-lasting impact on further forest development (Starfinger et al., 2003).’

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Invasive in its native range
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Has a broad native range
  • Abundant in its native range
  • Highly adaptable to different environments
  • Tolerates, or benefits from, cultivation, browsing pressure, mutilation, fire etc
  • Pioneering in disturbed areas
  • Tolerant of shade
  • Highly mobile locally
  • Fast growing
  • Has high reproductive potential
  • Has propagules that can remain viable for more than one year
  • Reproduces asexually
  • Has high genetic variability
Impact outcomes
  • Altered trophic level
  • Damaged ecosystem services
  • Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
  • Modification of fire regime
  • Modification of nutrient regime
  • Modification of successional patterns
  • Monoculture formation
  • Negatively impacts agriculture
  • Negatively impacts forestry
  • Negatively impacts animal health
  • Reduced native biodiversity
  • Threat to/ loss of native species
Impact mechanisms
  • Allelopathic
  • Competition - monopolizing resources
  • Competition - shading
  • Competition - smothering
  • Interaction with other invasive species
  • Rapid growth
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately
  • Difficult/costly to control

Uses

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P. serotina is often planted as an ornamental tree in eastern USA and in Europe. In the USA and in Europe it is used for surface mine spoil reclamation (Uchytil, 1991). The best results were obtained by planting 1-year-old seedlings.

In Europe it is also planted for the fixation of continental dunes and as a competitor against grasses and heather in heathland afforestations (Starfinger and Kowarik 2003). In Poland, P. serotina is sometimes planted in the undergrowth in pine forests and in mixed coniferous forests to enrich biodiversity and ameliorate soil conditions. However, as P. serotina later becomes an aggressive colonizer it may decrease biodiversity.

The reddish-brown, strong and hard wood of P. serotina is of importance in North America where it is used for furniture and panelling, lumber production, veneers, trim for boats and buildings, handles, crafts, toys and scientific instruments. Picture frames, piano actions, fixtures, woodenware, patterns and novelties are also made from this wood (Hough, 1957; Uchytil, 1991). It is especially suited for dining room suites, large desks and tables (Hough, 1957). The wood from sprouts can be of high quality and it is used for sawtimber (Wendel, 1975). It should be noted that trees with high quality wood grow exclusively in the Allegheny Plateau of Pennsylvania, New York, and West Virginia (Marquis, 1990).

The leaves, bark and seeds of black cherry are poisonous (Stephens, 1980) and may cause sickness or even death among some animals, although many species feed on the fruit (Kingsbury, 1964). The fruit is used for making jelly and wine and for flavouring rum. The bark of P. serotina is used for production of medicines.

Uses List

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Environmental

  • Agroforestry
  • Erosion control or dune stabilization
  • Revegetation
  • Soil improvement

General

  • Ornamental

Human food and beverage

  • Fruits
  • Honey/honey flora
  • Spices and culinary herbs

Materials

  • Carved material
  • Miscellaneous materials
  • Wood/timber

Medicinal, pharmaceutical

  • Source of medicine/pharmaceutical
  • Traditional/folklore

Wood Products

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Boats

Furniture

Sawn or hewn building timbers

  • Carpentry/joinery (exterior/interior)
  • Flooring
  • For light construction
  • Wall panelling

Vehicle bodies

Veneers

Wood-based materials

  • Plywood

Woodware

  • Industrial and domestic woodware
  • Musical instruments
  • Tool handles
  • Toys
  • Turnery
  • Wood carvings

Prevention and Control

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It can be very difficult to remove or reduce growth of P. serotina because of its very intensive sprouting and seeding. Pulling up by hand may be suitable for removing seedlings and juveniles (Weber, 2003). Mature trees can be felled, but because there is vigorous resprouting from stumps, the stumps of felled trees are usually treated with herbicides (Drogoszewski, 1986; 1987; 1988; Weber, 2003). Annighöfer et al. (2012) also suggested a mixture of mechanical and chemical treatments as an effective method.  All treatments may have to be repeated over a number of years. No single application of a mechanical control method has yet resulted in a lasting displacement of P. serotina (Annighöfer et al., 2012). Cronk and Fuller (1995) reported that there has been some investigation of the potential of a fungal pathogen for controlling P. serotina.

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Links to Websites

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WebsiteURLComment
Belgian Biodiversity Platformhttp://www.biodiversity.be/
Belgian Forum on Invasive Alien Specieshttp://ias.biodiversity.be/species/show/14 and http://www.biodiversity.be/bbpf/forum/invasion/invspecies.html
DAWIS - Database of Alien Woody species with special regard to alien Invasive woody Species in the Chttp://www.ibot.cas.cz/invasions/projects.htm
Estonian alien species databasehttp://eelis.ic.envir.ee/voorliigid/
Fuentes N, Pauchard A, Sánchez P, Esquivel J & Marticorena A,. 2013. A new comprehensive database ofhttp://www.lib.udec.cl/basededatos.html
GBIF (2011)Global biodiversity information facility databasehttp://data.gibf.org.au/nimpis
Info Flora - Nationales Daten-und Informationszentrum der Schweizer Flora. [National data and informhttp://www.infoflora.ch/
ISSG database global Invasive Species Database)http://www.issg.org
NBN Gateway - National Biodiversity Networkhttps://data.nbn.org.uk/
Neobiota.de - Gebietsfremde und invasive Arten in Deutschland [Non-native and invasive species in Gewww.neobiota.de/
NISIC - National Invasive Species Information Centerhttp://www.invasivespeciesinfo.gov/index.shtml
NOBANIS (2011)http://www.nobanis.org/default.aspThe European Network on Invasive Alien Species

Contributors

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30/06/14 datasheet updated by:

André Terwei, Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, Italy

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