A. spicata is cultivated for ornamental purposes and has become naturalized in northern Europe where it is considered invasive. It has been identified by the European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization (EPPO) as one of a number...
A. spicata is cultivated for ornamental purposes and has become naturalized in northern Europe where it is considered invasive. It has been identified by the European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization (EPPO) as one of a number of species posing an important threat to plant health, the environment and biodiversity in the EPPO region.
The genus Amelanchier is taxonomically complex and contains many hybrids. Various botanical works cite different origins for A. spicata. Chittenden (1956) lists A. x spicata as a hybrid probably between Amelanchier oblongifolia and Amelanchier stolonifera, and Krüssmann (1984) states that until recently, A. spicata was erroneously considered to be a hybrid between Amelanchier canadensis and Amelanchier ovalis.
Tutin et al. (1968) suggest A. spicata is conspecific with Amelanchier humilis from northeastern North America. However, Schroeder (1970) does not agree that A. spicata is conspecific with either A. humilis or A. stolonifera.
The correct name for A. spicata is much debated; see the University of Maine’s website on Amelanchier Systematics and Evolution for further discussion (http://biology.umaine.edu/Amelanchier/spi.html).
Amelanchier is a genus of deciduous shrubs and small trees. A. spicata has suckers that grow from the base forming a thicket of stems.
Stems 1-30, 0.3-2.0 m; twigs glabrous at flowering. Leaves oval to orbiculate, 1.5-6.5 x 1-4 cm. Inflorescences (4)5-7(-10)-flowered, 1.5-4.0 cm. Flowers with 5 white to ivory petals, 6-10 x 2.5-4.0(-5.0) mm. Stamens 10-20, styles 5. Fruits purple-black, 7-12 mm diameter (simplified from University of Maine, 2009).
According to Schroeder (1970), A. spicata, naturalized in Europe along with Amelanchier confusa and Amelanchier lamarckii, is undoubtedly of North American origin, but is not known as a distinct species in North America; it is instead considered as a microspecies. Schroeder does not accept the suggestion that the naturalized Amelanchier might be hybrids that have arisen in European gardens. Kabuce (2006) provides a map of the distribution of A. spicata in North America.
A. spicata is regarded as invasive in much of northern Europe including Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania and Sweden, and is potentially invasive in Norway (NOBANIS, 2009). Present in both gardens and in the wild, the species has spread rapidly particularly in Latvia and Denmark (Kabuce, 2006).
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.
Because A. spicata is a favoured ornamental, the risk of deliberate introduction is high.
Erkamo (1956, in Kowarik, 1995) analysed the capability of woody species to regenerate by seed and thus spread further. From the beginning to the middle of the 1900s, a number of species, including A. spicata, extended their regeneration front several latitudes northwards.
Introduced intentionally via horticulture, the seed of A. spicata is dispersed naturally by small mammals, bears and birds (Birkmane et al., 1957 in Kabuce, 2006). The plant also spreads vegetatively, forming dense stands.
A. spicata is said to be invading coastal areas in the Baltic region, altering the structure of both plant communities and the landscape. Spread is faster than that of other species due to the availability of suitable ecological conditions and the poor competition from other species (Kabuce et al., 2006 and references therein).
Amelanchier is an easily-cultivated and attractive tree species introduced via horticulture. A. spicata is used as an ornamental in parks, and along roads and hedgerows. It is also planted in windbreaks (Kabuce, 2006).
Amelanchier canadensis, a native of the eastern USA, is closely related to A. spicata (Tutin et al., 1968). A. spicata is also similar to Amelanchier humilis in habit, but prefers acidic soils whereas A. humilis is a calciphile (University of Maine, 2009). A detailed key to the naturalized European species A. lamarckii, Amelanchier confusa and Amelanchier spicata can be found in Schroeder (1970). See also the datasheet on A. lamarckii in this Compendium.
Due to the variable regulations around (de)registration of pesticides, your national list of registered pesticides or relevant authority should be consulted to determine which products are legally allowed for use in your country when considering chemical control. Pesticides should always be used in a lawful manner, consistent with the product's label.
A. spicata is on the EPPO list of invasive alien plants.