Phellodendron amurense - Rupr.
Amur Corktree
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Phellodendron amurense Rupr. (TSN 504297)
French Common Names: phellodendron de l'Amour
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.146046
Element Code: PDRUT0B010
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Rue Family
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Dicotyledoneae Sapindales Rutaceae Phellodendron
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
Concept Reference Code: B94KAR01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Phellodendron amurense
Taxonomic Comments: ITIS (as of Nov. 2018) includes Phellodendron japonicum in P. amurense; this record is for the more narrow concept of P. amurense, treated as distinct from P. japoncium.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: GNR
Rounded Global Status: GNR - Not Yet Ranked
Nation: United States
National Status: NNA
Nation: Canada
National Status: NNA (19Sep2016)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Connecticut (SNA), Illinois (SNA), Massachusetts (SNR), Pennsylvania (SNA), Rhode Island (SNA)
Canada Ontario (SNA), Quebec (SNA)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
NOTE: The distribution shown may be incomplete, particularly for some rapidly spreading exotic species.

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States CTexotic, ILexotic, MA, PAexotic, RIexotic
Canada ONexotic, QCexotic

Range Map
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Ecology & Life History Not yet assessed
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Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank)
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Disclaimer: While I-Rank information is available over NatureServe Explorer, NatureServe is not actively developing or maintaining these data. Species with I-RANKs do not represent a random sample of species exotic in the United States; available assessments may be biased toward those species with higher-than-average impact.

I-Rank: Medium
Rounded I-Rank: Medium
I-Rank Reasons Summary: Phellodendron amurense, Amur corktree, is native to Asia and was introduced into the United States in 1906 as a specimen in The Harvard University Arnold Arboretum. This species has since been planted in cities and has escaped into disturbed woodlands and forests. While it spreads quite vigorously in disturbed forests, few accounts exist of it penetrating healthy disturbance-free forests. It does, however, negatively impact the disturbed forests and natural areas where it is found, namely by outcompeting native tree and understory species. Further, this invader negatively impacts animal species that rely on native tree species' nuts, such as acorns and hickory nuts. It also reduces the light that would normally penetrate to the understory, given the shade it casts.

It is spreading in New York and Pennsylvania, in cities there, however, little information was found indicating that it is spreading in those states outside of city parks and forests. There is one account of this species spreading in 3 wildlife sanctuaries in Massachusetts. Once established, this species is quite difficult to manage. It produces copious seeds, sprouts vigorously if cut, and produces seedlings with a competitive-edge over other native seedlings (given its phytochemical make-up).

Overall, this species is spreading in a few localized areas, but has the potential to spread into other disturbed habitats in other states if not controlled.

Subrank I - Ecological Impact: Medium
Subrank II - Current Distribution/Abundance: Medium
Subrank III - Trend in Distribution/Abundance: Medium/Low
Subrank IV - Management Difficulty: High/Low
I-Rank Review Date: 03Jan2007
Evaluator: Oliver, L.
Native anywhere in the U.S?
Native Range: The Amur corktree is native to Northern China, Korea and Japan (Simons 2006).

Download "An Invasive Species Assessment Protocol: Evaluating Non-Native Plants for their Impact on Biodiversity". (PDF, 1.03MB)
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Screening Questions

S-1. Established outside cultivation as a non-native? YES
Comments: This non-native species to the United States occurs in Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Virginia (Kartesz 1999).

S-2. Present in conservation areas or other native species habitat? Yes
Comments: Phellodendron amurense is known in natural areas in New York, Massachusetts, Pennslyvania, and Illinois (PCA 2006, Bolitho et al. 2006).

Subrank I - Ecological Impact: Medium

1. Impact on Ecosystem Processes and System-wide Parameters:Moderate significance
Comments: The amur corktree adversly affects the abiotic ecosystem processes where it is found. It is known to negatively impact the light regimes in the forests where it occurs as it shades out native seedlings and other plants in the understory (Simons 2006).

2. Impact on Ecological Community Structure:High significance
Comments: The Amur corktree significantly alters the community structure where it occurs. It outcompetes native tree and shrub species in natural areas. Its greatest impact is on the number of seedlings this species produces (it germinates very quickly and easily) which outcompete other plants in the understory (Simons 2006). Mature trees and shrubs of this species shade the smaller trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants beneath them, ultimately shading and inhibiting the growth of these plants (Simons 2006). In other words, it impedes the regeneration of the natural native overstory.

3. Impact on Ecological Community Composition:High significance
Comments: Phellodendron amurense impacts the abundance of native species where it occurs by shading them and ultimately outcompeting them. This species is a strong competitor and known to have few to no pests in the United States, is drought tolerant and because of its phytochemical make up allows its seedings to grow thick and robust (Wikipedia encyclopedia). Also, this species has demonstrated that it can alter succession where it occurs. Since this species impedes the growth of native seedlings, including oaks and hickories, it prevents these trees to become dominants in the canopy as naturally existed before its introduction (Simons 2006). It also affects the animal species that occur in forests, namely birds, deer, bear, squirrels, mice, and other small mammels. Since this species alters succession by preventing native oaks and hickories from maturing into the overstory, the amount of nuts produced by these native tree species is lowered which in turn impacts the animal species that rely on the nuts/fruit as a food source (Simons 2006).

4. Impact on Individual Native Plant or Animal Species:Insignificant
Comments: No information was found about this species disproportionately affecting a native species. This species does, however, broadly impact the native plant and animal species where it occurs, but no mention was found that any one of these is being disproportionately affected.

5. Conservation Significance of the Communities and Native Species Threatened:Insignificant
Comments: No information was found indicating that this species directly or indirectly affects ecological communities or species of conservation concern, however, it has been documented in three Audubon wildlife sanctuaries in Massachusetts (Simons 2006). Overall though, it is known to invade areas with human disturbance (PCA 2006, Martin 2000).

Subrank II. Current Distribution and Abundance: Medium

6. Current Range Size in Nation:Low significance
Comments: Presently this species is only established in a portion of the United States, mainly a few states in the Northeast, Virginia and Illinois (Simons 2006).

7. Proportion of Current Range Where the Species is Negatively Impacting Biodiversity:High significance
Comments: The Amur corktree is negatively impacting biodiversity in most of the places where it is known outside of cultivation including several Northeastern states and Illinois (Martin 2000, Simons 2006). This species is also known in Virginia but no information was found indicating that it is invasive and spreading in the state.

8. Proportion of Nation's Biogeographic Units Invaded:Low significance
Comments: This species is present in a few biogeographic regions across its generalized range.

9. Diversity of Habitats or Ecological Systems Invaded in Nation:Medium/Low significance
Comments: This species is mainly known to be problematic in disturbed forests, city parks and natural areas where is has escaped from plantings (Simons 2006). In disturbed forests it can form dense stands (Simons 2006). One source says, 'Phellodendron amurense has been observed aggressively invading surburban and urban fringe forests...[it] is adaptable to various environmental conditions; it grows well in different soil types, is drought tolerant, and has no serious pest problem' (Martin 2000).

Subrank III. Trend in Distribution and Abundance: Medium/Low

10. Current Trend in Total Range within Nation:Moderate significance
Comments: This species produces large amounts of seed and in New York seed is seldom found more than a few hundred yards from the parent tree (Simons 2006). Birds probably also disperse seeds from this species as they are known to eat the drupes (Simons 2006), and this may be a seed dispersal mechanism and would allow for introduction in other areas. Further, Martin (2000) says that this species quickly invades disturbed forest areas.

11. Proportion of Potential Range Currently Occupied:Moderate significance
Comments: Currently this species is known from a few states in the Northeast, Illinois and Virginia, however, based on its USDA hardiness ratings it could occur in Zones 4-7 and possibly Zones 3 to 9 (Simons 2006).

12. Long-distance Dispersal Potential within Nation:Medium/Low significance
Comments: Information on long distance dispersal was not found, but it is known that birds eat the seeds of this species. Specifically, it is documented that Northern robins eat the seeds and seem to prefer the seeds over other foodsources (Simons 2006) and they may disperse the seeds over a long distance. It is also suspected that streams may disperse seeds (Simons 2006).

13. Local Range Expansion or Change in Abundance:Low significance
Comments: This species is especially problematic in New York and Pennsylvania, namely New York City and Philadelphia where it has escaped from plantings. In Montgomery County, which is north of Philadelphia, it is documented to be 'aggresively invad[ing] disturbed forests (Martin 2000). In New York, within 50 years it has become the dominant tree in New York City parks (Simons 2006). Also, it is mentioned that this species has established and spread into three wildlife sanctuaries in Massachusetts (Simons 2006).

14. Inherent Ability to Invade Conservation Areas and Other Native Species Habitats:Low significance
Comments: This species most often invades areas where there was human disturbance, such as city parks and natural areas (Simons 2006). It has been documented in 3 wildlife sanctuaries in Massachusetts though (Simons 2006).

15. Similar Habitats Invaded Elsewhere:Not ranked
Comments: No information was found on this species outside of the United States.

16. Reproductive Characteristics:High/Moderate significance
Comments: This tree species is reproductively mature between 3 to 5 years old and has a moderage growth rate of 10-12ft over a 5 to 8 year period (Simons 2006). It has a specific phytochemical profile that allows seedlings to grow thick which allows them to outcompete other native seedlings (Wikipedia). Also, this species produces seeds abundantly and will resprout vigorously if cut or incompletely girdled (Simons 2006).

Subrank IV. General Management Difficulty: High/Low

17. General Management Difficulty:Moderate significance
Comments: The following is said about the management of this species, 'hundreds of hours of labor and thousands of dollars spent are needed to remove it once established...a long term strategy with monitoring and follow-up becase its seeds remain dormant in the soil for a few years to several years and tends to resprout vigorously' (Simons 2006).

18. Minimum Time Commitment:Moderate significance
Comments: Several years are needed to control this species (Simons 2006).

19. Impacts of Management on Native Species:Not ranked

20. Accessibility of Invaded Areas:Not ranked
Authors/Contributors
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Botanical data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs), The North Carolina Botanical Garden, and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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  • Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS). 2018. Integrated Taxonomic Information System: Biological Names. Online. Available: http://www.itis.gov.

  • Jordan, M. 2005. Weed spread on Long Island, NY (New York, USA). Posting to TNC Invasive Species Listserve: Digest #142 (October 2005). Online. Available: http://tncweeds.ucdavis.edu/listserv.html (Accessed 2005).

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1999. A synonymized checklist and atlas with biological attributes for the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. First edition. In: Kartesz, J.T., and C.A. Meacham. Synthesis of the North American Flora, Version 1.0. North Carolina Botanical Garden, Chapel Hill, N.C.

  • Martin, T. 2000. Phellodendron amurense Rupr. (Amur cork tree) Weed Alert! The Global Invasive Species Initiative. Available online at: http://tncweeds.ucdavis.edu/alert/alrtphel.html. Accessed on Dec. 21, 2006.

  • Martin, T. Cork trees Phellodendron spp. DCNR Invasive Exotic Plant Tutorial for Natural Land Managers. Available online at: http;//www.dcnr.state.pa.us/FORESTRY/invasivetutorial/cork_tree.htm. Accessed on Dec. 21, 2006.

  • Phellodendron - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Available online at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phellodendron. Accessed on: Dec. 21, 2006.

  • Simons, D. 2006. Amur corktree fact sheet. Plant Conservation Alliance's Alien Plant Working Group. Weeds Gone Wild. Plant Invaders of Natural Areas. Available online at http://www.nps.gov/plants/alien.

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