Prunus avium
Wild cherry

Wild cherry (Prunus avium) is a medium-sized, fast-growing deciduous tree. The tree’s natural range includes western Eurasia and some areas in northern Africa.

The wood is straight, easy to work with, and has a reddish-brown colour, making it attractive for use in producing furniture, decorative joinery, cabinetry, veneer and musical instruments. The tree’s bark is characteristically shiny, with large lenticels and peels. It is one of the first trees to flower in the spring and produces masses of white blossoms, making it valuable as an ornamental. The fruit has been a source of food for humans for thousands of years and is also beneficial to several bird and insect species.

Wild cherry is a pioneer species which is initially quick to colonize clearings, woodland edges and glades; however, it is often later out-competed by other hardwood species. These qualities, as well as the tree’s adventitious root systems, render it useful for afforestation of agricultural land and for soil protection.

Wild cherry favours fertile, deep, light, silty soils with a good water supply. It is able to tolerate a wide range of soils, but prefers slightly acidic conditions. It survives well in winter, but its flowers may be damaged by spring frosts.

in situ genetic conservation unit
ex situ genetic conservation unit
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Acknowledgements

The following experts have contributed to the development of the EUFORGEN distribution maps:

Fazia Krouchi (Algeria), Hasmik Ghalachyan (Armenia), Thomas Geburek (Austria), Berthold Heinze (Austria), Rudi Litschauer (Austria), Rudolf Litschauer (Austria), Michael Mengl (Austria), Ferdinand Müller (Austria), Franz Starlinger (Austria), Valida Ali-zade (Azerbaijan), Vahid Djalal Hajiyev (Azerbaijan), Karen Cox (Belgium), Bart De Cuyper (Belgium), Olivier Desteucq (Belgium), Patrick Mertens (Belgium), Jos Van Slycken (Belgium), An Vanden Broeck (Belgium), Kristine Vander Mijnsbrugge (Belgium), Dalibor Ballian (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Alexander H. Alexandrov (Bulgaria), Alexander Delkov (Bulgaria), Ivanova Denitsa Pandeva (Bulgaria), Peter Zhelev Stoyanov (Bulgaria), Joso Gracan (Croatia), Marilena Idzojtic (Croatia), Mladen Ivankovic (Croatia), Željka Ivanović (Croatia), Davorin Kajba (Croatia), Hrvoje Marjanovic (Croatia), Sanja Peric (Croatia), Andreas Christou (Cyprus), Xenophon Hadjikyriacou (Cyprus), Václav Buriánek (Czech Republic), Jan Chládek (Czech Republic), Josef Frýdl (Czech Republic), Petr Novotný (Czech Republic), Martin Slovacek (Czech Republic), Zdenek Špišek (Czech Republic), Karel Vancura (Czech Republic), Ulrik Bräuner (Denmark), Bjerne Ditlevsen (Denmark), Jon Kehlet Hansen (Denmark), Jan Svejgaard Jensen (Denmark), Kalev Jðgiste (Estonia), Tiit Maaten (Estonia), Raul Pihu (Estonia), Ülo Tamm (Estonia), Arvo Tullus (Estonia), Aivo Vares (Estonia), Teijo Nikkanen (Finland), Sanna Paanukoski (Finland), Mari Rusanen (Finland), Pekka Vakkari (Finland), Leena Yrjänä (Finland), Daniel Cambon (France), Eric Collin (France), Alexis Ducousso (France), Bruno Fady (France), François Lefèvre (France), Brigitte Musch (France), Sylvie Oddou-Muratorio (France), Luc E. Pâques (France), Julien Saudubray (France), Marc Villar (France), Vlatko Andonovski (FYR Macedonia), Dragi Pop-Stojanov (FYR Macedonia), Merab Machavariani (Georgia), Irina Tvauri (Georgia), Alexander Urushadze (Georgia), Bernd Degen (Germany), Jochen Kleinschmit (Germany), Armin König (Germany), Armin König (Germany), Volker Schneck (Germany), Richard Stephan (Germany), H. H. Kausch-Blecken Von Schmeling (Germany), Georg von Wühlisch (Germany), Iris Wagner (Germany), Heino Wolf (Germany), Paraskevi Alizoti (Greece), Filippos Aravanopoulos (Greece), Andreas Drouzas (Greece), Despina Paitaridou (Greece), Aristotelis C. Papageorgiou (Greece), Kostas Thanos (Greece), Sándor Bordács (Hungary), Csaba Mátyás (Hungary), László Nagy (Hungary), Thröstur Eysteinsson (Iceland), Adalsteinn Sigurgeirsson (Iceland), Halldór Sverrisson (Iceland), John Fennessy (Ireland), Ellen O'Connor (Ireland), Fulvio Ducci (Italy), Silvia Fineschi (Italy), Bartolomeo Schirone (Italy), Marco Cosimo Simeone (Italy), Giovanni Giuseppe Vendramin (Italy), Lorenzo Vietto (Italy), Janis Birgelis (Latvia), Virgilijus Baliuckas (Lithuania), Kestutis Cesnavicius (Lithuania), Darius Danusevicius (Lithuania), Valmantas Kundrotas (Lithuania), Alfas Pliûra (Lithuania), Darius Raudonius (Lithuania), Robert du Fays (Luxembourg), Myriam Heuertz (Luxembourg), Claude Parini (Luxembourg), Fred Trossen (Luxembourg), Frank Wolter (Luxembourg), Joseph Buhagiar (Malta), Eman Calleja (Malta), Ion Palancean (Moldova), Dragos Postolache (Moldova), Gheorghe Postolache (Moldova), Hassan Sbay (Morocco), Tor Myking (Norway), Tore Skrøppa (Norway), Anna Gugala (Poland), Jan Kowalczyk (Poland), Czeslaw Koziol (Poland), Jan Matras (Poland), Zbigniew Sobierajski (Poland), Maria Helena Almeida (Portugal), Filipe Costa e Silva (Portugal), Luís Reis (Portugal), Maria Carolina Varela (Portugal), Ioan Blada (Romania), Alexandru-Lucian Curtu (Romania), Lucian Dinca (Romania), Georgeta Mihai (Romania), Mihai Olaru (Romania), Gheorghe Parnuta (Romania), Natalia Demidova (Russian Federation), Mikhail V. Pridnya (Russian Federation), Andrey Prokazin (Russian Federation), Srdjan Bojovic (Serbia) , Vasilije Isajev (Serbia), Saša Orlovic (Serbia), Rudolf Bruchánik (Slovakia), Roman Longauer (Slovakia), Ladislav Paule (Slovakia), Gregor Bozič (Slovenia), Robert Brus (Slovenia), Katarina Celič (Slovenia), Hojka Kraigher (Slovenia), Andrej Verlič (Slovenia), Marjana Westergren (Slovenia), Ricardo Alía (Spain), Josefa Fernández-López (Spain), Luis Gil Sanchez (Spain), Pablo Gonzalez Goicoechea (Spain), Santiago C. González-Martínez (Spain), Sonia Martin Albertos (Spain), Eduardo Notivol Paino (Spain), María Arantxa Prada (Spain), Alvaro Soto de Viana (Spain), Lennart Ackzell (Sweden), Jonas Bergquist (Sweden), Sanna Black-Samuelsson (Sweden), Jonas Cedergren (Sweden), Gösta Eriksson (Sweden), Markus Bolliger (Switzerland), Felix Gugerli (Switzerland), Rolf Holderegger (Switzerland), Peter Rotach (Switzerland), Marcus Ulber (Switzerland), Sven M.G. de Vries (The Netherlands), Khouja Mohamed Larbi (Tunisia), Murat Alan (Turkey), Gaye Kandemir (Turkey), Gursel Karagöz (Turkey), Zeki Kaya (Turkey), Hasan Özer (Turkey), Hacer Semerci (Turkey), Ferit Toplu (Turkey), Mykola M. Vedmid (Ukraine), Roman T. Volosyanchuk (Ukraine), Stuart A'Hara (United Kingdom), Joan Cottrell (United Kingdom), Colin Edwards (United Kingdom), Michael Frankis (United Kingdom), Jason Hubert (United Kingdom), Karen Russell (United Kingdom), C.J.A. Samuel (United Kingdom).

Technical guidelines for genetic conservation and use

Prunus avium - Technical guidelines for genetic conservation and use for wild cherry

Publication Year: 2003
Author: Russell, K.

The objective of genetic conservation is to ensure the continued survival and adaptability of the species. Where sufficiently large populations are available, in situ conservation efforts should focus on identifying core populations of more than 20 distinct individuals. The natural regeneration of cherry trees should be a management priority. To avoid inbreeding depression, these core populations should ideally be linked by establishing new plantings using trees from other sources such as seed orchards or breeding populations with similar ecological conditions. Trees occurring at the extreme margins of the distribution range should also be conserved. However, as cherry grows in very scattered populations with relatively few individuals, the most effective conservation strategies are likely to be ex situ seed orchards and clonal banks.

Ex situ grafted clonal seed orchards should consist of at least 30 different genotypes from the same ecogeographic region. These should be established in locations favourable for growth and seed production, and should be well protected from vermin, and isolated from sweet cherry and other cherry species to avoid hybridization. Ten or so replicates per clone should be propagated onto healthy rootstocks. The use of dwarf rootstocks enables more intensive plantings of about 3 m rows with 5 m gaps, and also encourages precocious seed production. Other rootstocks will require wider spacing of 5 m x 5 m or more and may require thinning in later years. The seed orchard should be designed to ensure that a good mixture of clones is achieved. However, if the incompatibility alleles are known for each clone, they can be arranged to avoid planting incompatible genotypes next to each other. During the establishment years, full control of weeds, pests and diseases should be undertaken and pruning carried out to encourage a broad, open crown for fruiting. Seed should be collected throughout the orchard and supplied as a mixture to nurseries and growers. Regional seed orchards can form the basis of a Multiple Population Breeding System. Ideally, in MPBS, breeding population is subdivided into subpopulations which are then grown over a wide range of site conditions. Each subpopulation may have the same or different breeding goal.

Clonal banks should be established where the long-term future of the planting is secure. They should include a very broad range of genotypes, both geographically and genetically, e.g. superior timber trees with breeding potential as well as trees with conservation value and other species. Ideally, the accessions should be virus free, well documented and clearly labelled. A minimum of two replicates per clone should be planted. The rootstock used determines the spacing required, and the planting should ideally have a full management programme of weed, pest and disease control. Where possible, it should also be duplicated on another site. If trees die, they should be removed and replaced. The content of a clonal bank should be reviewed after several years and repropagated if necessary to ensure a healthy collection is maintained.

Provenance, progeny and clonal trials and demonstration plantings can also have potential conservation value. Encouraging the utilisation of wild cherry could also be important in promoting its planting and management.

The objective of genetic conservation is to ensure the continued survival and adaptability of the species. Where sufficiently large populations are available, in situ conservation efforts should focus on identifying core populations of more than 20 distinct individuals. The natural regeneration of cherry trees should be a management priority. To avoid inbreeding depression, these core...
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