T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Prunus campanulata (Taiwan cherry)

Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Rosales
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Prunus
Subgenus: Cerasus
Species: P. campanulata
Binomial name: Prunus campanulata
Synonyms: Cerasus campanulata
Common names: Taiwan cherry, Formosan cherry, Bellflower cherry

Prunus campanulata is a deciduous species of cherry tree native to Taiwan and is widely grown as an ornamental tree. It is a small-sized tree, up to 8 m high. Its leaves are alternate, thin, green, 5-17 cm long, and have sharply-toothed margins.
The flowers (2.5 cm across) are a deep pink to rose-magenta-white colour (about 2.5 cm across), pendant and are borne singly or in small clusters.
Fleshy glossy scarlet fruits with a stony centre (up to 1.2 cm long) develop after flowering.

Prunus campanulata is an extremely invasive plant species as it set prodigious amounts of seed which is then spread by birds. The seeds have a high rate of germination and can not be hand pulled after a years growth and when cut will grow again. There is a movement to ban the sale and distribution of Prunus campanulata throughout New Zealand. This invasive plant species is totally banned in the Northland region of New Zealand where it is illegal to distribute, sell, propagate, distribute soil, gravel etc. that contain the seeds or other parts of the plant.

Below is management information for Prunus campanulata in New Zealand from ISSG “The Invasive Species Specialist Group which is a global network of scientific and policy experts on invasive species, organized under the auspices of the Species Survival Commission (SSC) of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)”.
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).

Location Specific Management Information

Auckland Region (North Island)
P. campanulata has been included in the Auckland Regional Pest Strategy (2007-2012). While not considered a pest, P. campanulata is included in Part V of this document, i.e. as a species requiring further research to determine any possible negative effects on biodiversity in the future (ARPS 2007-2012). P. campanulata is also listed by the Waitakere City Council as an environmental weed with potential to pose a risk to conservation land (WCC 2010); it is therefore recommended that its spread should be limited and any weedy specimens should be eradicated (WCC 2010).

Bay of Plenty Region (North Island)
P. campanulata is considered a 'garden escapee' in the Bay of Plenty region; alternative native species suggested for use instead are puriri (Vitex lucens), kotukutuku (Fuchsia excorticata) and wineberry (Aristotelia serrata) (Weedbusters 2009).

Marlborough Region (South Island)
P. campanulata is considered a 'garden escapee' in the Marlborough region; alternative native species suggested for use instead are houhere (Hoheria angustifolia), limestone tree daisy (Brachyglottis hectorii) and pink tree broom (Carmichaelia glabrescens) (Weedbusters 2007a).

Northland Region (North Island)
Distribution and sale of P. campanulata is banned in the region (NRC 2010). The Northland Regional Council classifies P. campanulata as a 'Community Pest Control Area pest plant' (NRC 2010). It is required by the Northland Regional Council to control P. campanulata in a 'Community Pest Control Area' if it is deemed to be a threat to the conservation value of that area. The level of threat is determined in consultation with biosecurity officers (NRC undated).
From 2006-08 the Department of Conservation and the Kerikeri Basin Weedbusters held an annual control day to remove P. campanulata from the Kerikeri basin in spring, while the trees were flowering (DOC 2007, 2008). Control methods utilised during the Kerikeri control days included physical control - the removal of seedlings and felling of trees - followed up by the use of herbicide (Harris & Skilton 2007).

Waikato Region (North Island)
P. campanulata is listed in the Waikato Regional Pest Management Stragey and is classified as a 'containment (occupier control) pest plant' in the Waikato region. P. campanulata is considered a 'garden escapee' in the Waikato region; alternative species suggested for use instead are puriri (Vitex lucens), kotukutuku (Fuchsia excorticata) and wineberry (Aristotelia serrata) (Weedbusters 2007b).
The Waikato Regional Council aims to have a zero-density population of P. campanulata in the Taupo district by 2017, and to prevent its establishment in other areas. Residents are required to eradicate any P. campanulata trees on personal property, and those who do not comply will be liable, as trees can act as a source for wild seedlings. The Waikato Regional Council will destroy wild populations where practicable; and those occupying quarries and transport corridors are also required to be removed (Environment Waikato 2010).

West Coast Region (NZ) (South Island)
P. campanulata is considered a 'garden escapee' in the West Coast region; alternative native species suggested for use instead are houhere (Hoheria angustifolia), limestone tree daisy (Brachyglottis hectorii) and pink tree broom (Carmichaelia glabrescens) (Weedbusters 2007a).

Photograph of a tree growing on the Te Henui walkway.