Prunus padus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Plantae Tracheophyta Magnoliopsida Rosales Rosaceae

Scientific Name: Prunus padus L.
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Bird Cherry, European Bird Cherry
French Merisier à Grappes
Cerasus padus (L.) Delarbre
Padus asiatica Kom.
Padus avium Mill.
Padus racemosa (Lam.) C.K.Schneid.
Prunus fauriei H. Lév.
Prunus racemosa Lam.
Taxonomic Notes: Prunus padus L. is a wild relative of Almond, P. dulcis (Mill.) D.A.Webb, Peach and Nectarine, P. persica (L.) Batsch, Plum, P. domestica L., Sloe, P. spinosa L. and Sweet Cherry, P. avium (L.) L. 

Two subspecies are native to Europe: P. padus subsp. borealis (A. Blytt) Nyman and P. padus L. subsp. padus (Kurtto 2009).

It has been used as graftstock for Sour Cherry P. cerasus L. (USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program 2013).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2014-03-31
Assessor(s): Rhodes, L. & Maxted, N.
Reviewer(s): Fielder, H. & Oldfield, S.
Contributor(s): Duarte, M.C., Holubec, V., Uzundzhalieva, K., Vögel, R., Vörösváry, G., Maslovky, O., Korpelainen, H. & Kell, S.P.

Prunus padus is globally assessed as Least Concern as it is a widely distributed species across Eurasia that has no known major threats and is also assessed as Least Concern in Europe. As identified in the European Red List assessment for this species, national level monitoring is required for the subspecies borealis as it is rare and locally threatened in some countries (Duarte et al. 2011). Germplasm collection and duplicated ex situ storage is a priority for this species, alongside incorporation of targeted monitoring and management of this species into existing management plans of protected areas where this species is present.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Prunus padus is native to many parts of Europe, as well as being widely distributed across parts of temperate Asia. The species is also native to Morocco and is widely naturalized elsewhere as well as being cultivated both within and outside of native distribution (USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program 2013).

According to the European Red List assessment for this species, P. padus subsp. padus is a common species of the Slovakian flora and is also common in southern and central parts of the Finland but less frequent in the north of the country. P. padus subsp. borealis (A. Blytt) Nyman is a rare taxon of mountain regions in northwest, north and northeastern parts of Slovakia and a similar pattern in found in the Czech Republic and in Hungary (Bertová 1992, Holub and Procházka 2000); it also occurs in the northern areas of Finland (H. Korpelainen pers. comm. 2010, Duarte et al. 2011).

It is rare in Portugal, probably as this is at the limits of its range, but is fairly widespread in France (Association Tela Botanica 2000–2010), UK and Ireland (Preston et al. 2002) and the Netherlands (Mennema et al. 1985, Duarte et al. 2011).

Countries occurrence:
Albania; Andorra; Armenia; Austria; Belarus; Belgium; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Bulgaria; China (Gansu, Hebei, Heilongjiang, Henan, Jilin, Liaoning, Nei Mongol, Qinghai, Shaanxi, Shandong, Shanxi, Xinjiang); Croatia; Czech Republic; Denmark; Estonia; Finland; France (France (mainland)); Georgia; Germany; Hungary; Ireland; Italy (Italy (mainland)); Japan (Hokkaido); Kazakhstan; Korea, Democratic People's Republic of; Korea, Republic of; Latvia; Liechtenstein; Lithuania; Luxembourg; Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of; Moldova; Mongolia; Montenegro; Morocco; Netherlands; Norway; Poland; Portugal (Portugal (mainland)); Romania; Russian Federation (Altay, Amur, Buryatiya, Central Asian Russia, Central European Russia, Chita, Eastern Asian Russia, East European Russia, European Russia, Irkutsk, Kaliningrad, Kamchatka, Khabarovsk, Krasnoyarsk, Kuril Is., Magadan, North European Russia, Northwest European Russia, Primoryi, Sakhalin, South European Russia, Tuva, West Siberia, Yakutiya); Serbia (Kosovo, Serbia); Slovakia; Spain (Spain (mainland)); Sweden; Switzerland; Turkey; Ukraine (Ukraine (main part)); United Kingdom (Great Britain, Northern Ireland)
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:800Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):No
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:20000000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:As detailed in the European Red List assessment for this species (Duarte et al. 2011), its distribution has remained unchanged in the last 40–50 years (Preston et al. 2002) and in the Netherlands was recorded in 1,001–3,000 1x1 km grid squares in 1902–1949 whereas in the periods 1975–1987 and 1988–1999 it was recorded in over 10,000 km2 (Tamis et al. 2003).

Further research is needed to gather information about the population size and trend of this species throughout the rest of its range, although global population is presumed to be stable.
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals:No
Extreme fluctuations:UnknownPopulation severely fragmented:No
Continuing decline in subpopulations:No
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:UnknownAll individuals in one subpopulation:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:

This species is often found in forest and scrub in Europe, most frequently on calcareous or base-rich substrates, avoiding very dry or very acidic conditions (Duarte et al. 2011).

It can be found in moist woodland and scrub, along streams and shaded rocky areas in the UK (Preston et al. 2002). In Finland it occurs in herb-rich forests, waterfront thickets and forest edges, and is mostly found in open lowland forest in Hungary and the Czech Republic (Duarte et al. 2011).

It is able to grow in various soil types, preferring damp calcareous or base rich soils in the UK (Preston et al. 2002) and is recorded as occurring on humid, poor, slightly acid soils and also on humid, moderately fertile soils in the Netherlands (Tamis et al. 2003).

Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Unknown

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Prunus padus is a wild relative of Almond, Peach and Nectarine, Plum, Sloe and Sweet Cherry, and has also been used as graftstock for Sour Cherry (Duarte et al. 2011, USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program 2013) and so it has the potential for use as a gene donor for crop improvement. It is sometimes cultivated for its edible fruit and as an ornamental species, and it is used as a bee plant for honey production (USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program 2013).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): There are currently no major threats to Prunus padus in Europe (Duarte et al. 2011). However, the subspecies borealis is threatened by forest fires, among other threats.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: In Slovakia and Czech Republic, Prunus padus subsp. borealis is listed as Critically Endangered (CR) (Holub and Procházka 2000, Feráková et al. 2001, Procházka 2001). It is protected in the central/eastern region of Bourgogne (Association Tela Botanica 2000–2010) but is classified as Least Concern (LC) in Denmark (Wind and Pihl 2010) and Switzerland (Moser et al. 2002). It also does not feature on the Global Red List of Japanese Plants (National Museum of Nature and Science 2008). 

EURISCO reports seven germplasm accessions of P. padus held in European genebanks, none of which are reported to be of wild or weedy origin (EURISCO Catalogue 2010). Four germplasm accessions are held in the National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS), in the USA, two of which are of wild origin, neither of which are duplicated at a second site (USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program 2013). Germplasm collection and duplicated ex situ storage is a priority for this species.

As it is a widespread species some populations occur in protected areas (Information Center for the Environment (ICE) 2013) and while passive conservation is presumed, incorporation of targeted monitoring and management of this species into existing management plans of these sites is recommended:

  • Bayerischer Wald National Park and Pflaelzerwald (Germany)
  • Beinn Eighe National Nature Reserve and Isle of Rhum National Nature Reserve (United Kingdom)
  • Bialowieza National Park (Poland, present with reproducing population)
  • Palava Protected Landscape Area and Trebon Basin Protected Landscape Area (Czech Republic)
  • Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve (China, common with reproducing population present)

Citation: Rhodes, L. & Maxted, N. 2016. Prunus padus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T172090A61616618. . Downloaded on 14 August 2018.
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