Taxonomic name:Prunus campanulata Maxim. Synonyms:Cerasus campanulata (Maxim.) A. N. Vassiljeva, Prunus cerasoides var. campanulata (Maxim.) Koidz. Common names: bell-flower cherry, bell-flowered cherry, Formosan cherry, Glocken-Kirsche (German), Taiwan cherry, Taiwan-Kirsche (Taiwan), tui tree (New Zealand) Organism type: tree
Prunus campanulata is a flowering cherry that is native to China, Taiwan and Vietnam. It is a popular ornamental tree for both private gardens and public areas. One of the earliest of the flowering cherries, P. campanulata flowers in early spring. Inflorescences are attractive, deep red and bell-shaped. Like most cherry trees, it prefers to grow in part-shade or sun, and prefers rich, well-drained soil. However, P. campanulata has become a pest plant in some areas of New Zealand, most notably Northland and Taranaki.
Description Prunus campanulata is a small, deciduous tree that grows up to 10m high. It has characteristic deep red, bell shaped clusters of flowers (up to 2.2cm diameter), which appear in late winter to early spring. Flowers often appear on the bare branches before the leave emerge. Leaves are serrated, typically cherry-like and are up to 4-7cm long and 2-3.5cm wide. These are a bright green colour when they emerge in spring, changing to dark green in summer and finally turning bronze during autumn. The fruit of P. campanulata is small (10 x 6mm), shiny and scarlet and are very popular with birds. (Crawford 1997; Environment Waikato 2010; Fleming's Nurseries undated; Harris & Skilton 2007; HEAR 2005; Hosking et al. 2007; TERRAIN 2010; Flora of China, Undated).
Occurs in: natural forests, riparian zones, urban areas
Habitat description Prunus campanulata is native to China (temperate), Taiwan (temperate) and Vietnam (tropical), so consequently does well in milder conditions. It is hardy to -12°C. Like most cherry trees, P. campanulata prefers fertile, light, well-drained soil and full sun or part-shade. (Crawford 1997; USDA, ARS 2010).
General impacts In New Zealand, Prunus campanulata is reported as invading the understory of relatively intact indigenous forests. It also competes with regenerating native species in native forests. (ARPS 2007-2012; Owen 1997, in Wiser & Allen 2006).
Uses Prunus campanulata is a popular ornamental tree for both private gardens and public areas.
Geographical range Native range: China, Taiwan, Vietnam. (USDA, ARS 2010). Known introduced range: Australia, Hawaii, India, Japan, New Zealand, United Kingdom, United States. (Forestry Commission GB undated; GCW 2007; GPD 2008; Hosking et al. 2007; Rana et al. 2007; Starr & Starr 2010).
Introduction pathways to new locations For ornamental purposes: Internet sales/postal services: Seeds for sale on classified/auction websites, e.g. TradeMe.co.nz (TradeMe 2010)
Local dispersal methods Consumption/excretion:Prunus campanulata can be dispersed by birds (Harris & Skilton 2007). For ornamental purposes (local): Garden escape/garden waste:Prunus campanulata can spread vegetatively (Harris & Skilton 2007).
Management information Management techniques generally recommended for control of P. campanulata include physical and chemical methods. Mature trees should be removed by felling, while seedlings can be dug out. Stumps should then be treated with herbicide. Follow up measures are important, to target any subsequent sprouting or seedlings. (ARC 2007; Harris & Skilton 2007).
Reproduction Prunus campanulata is one of the earliest of the cherry trees to flower, with flowers beginning in early spring or as early as late winter. P. campanulata is insect-pollinated and is able to flower and seed within 1-2 years. Seeds exhibit physiological and morphological dormancy, which must be broken by exposure to both warm and cold conditions before germination. (Crawford 1997; DOC 2007; Lee et al. 2006; Lincoln University undated).
Reviewed by: Dr. Uwe Starfinger, Julius Kuehn Institute, Braunschweig, Germany.
Compiled by: IUCN SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG) with support from the Auckland Regional Council (ARC)