Plant Assessment Form

Pyracantha coccinea

Synonyms: Cotoneaster pyracantha (L.) Spach

Common Names: scarlet firethorn, firethorn

Evaluated on: 8/20/04

List committee review date: 27/08/2004

Re-evaluation date:

Evaluator(s)

Peter J. Warner
California Department of Parks and Recreation; CNPS; Cal-IPC
P. O. Box 603, Little River, CA 95456
(707) 937-9172 (w); (707) 937-278 (h)
corylus@earthlink.net

List commitee members

Joe DiTomaso
Peter Warner
John Randall
Cyntia Roye
Alison Stanton
Jake Sigg

General Comments

This assessment includes assessment of 3 commonly observed species of Pyracantha, and has been completed with little literature on the ecology or biology of Pyracantha available. Most responses based, at least in part, on personal observations.

5/26/17 Note by Ramona Robison
This PAF was originally written for Pyracantha angustifolia, P. crenulata and P. coccinea. It has now been split into three species and the information copied into each. All three PAFs should be updated with current scientific literature and to reflect the fact that P. crenulata and P. coccinea are considered "waifs" in the Jepson Manual and their distributions are much less widespread than P. angustifolia which is noted as "naturalized."

Table 2. Criteria, Section, and Overall Scores

Overall Score? Limited
Alert Status? No Alert
Documentation? 3 out of 5
Score Documentation
1.1 ?Impact on abiotic ecosystem processes U Other Published Material
Impact?
Four-part score UCCD Total Score
C
1.2 ?Impact on plant community C. Minor Other Published Material
1.3 ?Impact on higher trophic levels C. Minor Other Published Material
1.4 ?Impact on genetic integrity D. None Other Published Material
2.1 ?Role of anthropogenic and natural disturbance in establishment B. Moderate Observational
Invasiveness?
Total Points
16 Total Score B
2.2 ?Local rate of spread with no management B. Increases less rapidly Observational
2.3 ?Recent trend in total area infested within state B. Increasing less rapidly Other Published Material
2.4 ?Innate reproductive potential
(see Worksheet A)
B. Moderate Other Published Material
2.5 ?Potential for human-caused dispersal A. High Other Published Material
2.6 ? Potential for natural long-distance dispersal A. Frequent Other Published Material
2.7 ?Other regions invaded B. Invades 1 or 2 ecological types Other Published Material
3.1 ?Ecological amplitude/Range
(see Worksheet C)
A. Widespread Other Published Material
Distribution?
Total Score B
3.2 ?Distribution/Peak frequency
(see Worksheet C)
C. Low Observational

Table 3. Documentation

Scores are explained in the "Criteria for Categorizing Invasive Non-Native Plants that Threaten Wildlands".

Section 1: Impact
Question 1.1 Impact on abiotic ecosystem processes? U Other Published Material
Identify ecosystem processes impacted:

None known. Impacts not a factor include nitrogen fixation, fire regime change (1), structural changes (2). literature and observations


Sources of information:

1. Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER). 2004. Pyracantha angustifolia. Online @ http://www.hear.org/pier/wra/pacific/pyracantha_angustifolia_htmlwra.htm
2. Warner, PJ. 1999-2004. Personal observations in Marin, Sacramento, San Mateo, Sonoma, Mendocino Counties. 707/937-9172; pwarner@mcn.org


Question 1.2 Impact on plant community composition,
structure, and interactions?
C Other Published Material
Identify type of impact or alteration:

In some areas, pyracantha has become a component of community invaded, displacing native species to a minor extent (1) (more extensive displacement reported from Pacific Islands, including Hawai'i (2)). Pyracantha has been reported as a potential reservoir of plant pathogens (3), and thus could negatively affect related native species in the Rosaceae that might grow in the same areas. Not a dominant species in any area observed in CA.


Sources of information:

1. Warner, PJ. 1999-2004. Personal observations in Marin, Sacramento, San Mateo, Sonoma, Mendocino Counties. 707/937-9172; pwarner@mcn.org
2. Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER). 2004. Pyracantha angustifolia. Online @ http://www.hear.org/pier/wra/pacific/pyracantha_angustifolia_htmlwra.htm
3. Ecoaction.net. 2004. Weeds: Pyracantha angustifolia. Online @ http://www.ecoaction.net.au/ccserac/docs/weeds/pyracantha.htm


Question 1.3 Impact on higher trophic levels? C Other Published Material
Identify type of impact or alteration:

Fruits are well known as bird-dispersed (1, 2); plant is armed with thorns (3), reducing potential value as a forage species and is reputed to be unpalatable and toxic to animals (1). Plants provide edible fruits (1, 2) and nesting sites for birds (2). Not reported as a dominant in California plant communities, so probably not a major factor in higher trophic level interactions.


Sources of information:

1. Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER). 2004. Pyracantha angustifolia. Online @ http://www.hear.org/pier/wra/pacific/pyracantha_angustifolia_htmlwra.htm
2. Ecoaction.net. 2004. Weeds: Pyracantha angustifolia. Online @ http://www.ecoaction.net.au/ccserac/docs/weeds/pyracantha.htm
3. Warner, PJ. 1999-2004. Personal observations in Marin, Sacramento, San Mateo, Sonoma, Mendocino Counties. 707/937-9172; pwarner@mcn.org


Question 1.4 Impact on genetic integrity? D Other Published Material

Unlikely - no closely related species in California. deductive reasoning


Sources of information:

Hickman, JC (editor). 1993. The Jepson Manual: Higher Plants of California (Third Printing, with corrections). University of California Press, Berkeley. p. 972.


Section 2: Invasiveness
Question 2.1 Role of anthropogenic and natural disturbance
in establishment?
B Observational
Describe role of disturbance:

Observed growing in infrequently disturbed areas, such as formerly grazed coastal prairie, as well as along more frequently disturbed areas, such as lakes, creeks, roadsides, fencelines; water availability or cool climate appears correlated to plant success. Appears to become established more frequently in moderately disturbed sites, provided water is available


Sources of information:

Warner, PJ. 1999-2004. Personal observations in Marin, Sacramento, San Mateo, Sonoma, Mendocino Counties. 707/937-9172; pwarner@mcn.org


Question 2.2 Local rate of spread with no management? B Observational
Describe rate of spread:

Absent management, Pyracantha species will continue to be introduced (presumably aided by bird dispersal of seeds) and will thus spread. Most introductions seem very limited (one or a few plants), but spread is more likely in sufficiently warm and moist habitats. Absent management, more plants and seeds will be available to increase population, but only under optimal growing conditions will spread be rapid. Management efforts are more critical in moist regimes than in drier ones.


Sources of information:

Warner, PJ. 1999-2004. Personal observations in Marin, Sacramento, San Mateo, Sonoma, Mendocino Counties. 707/937-9172; pwarner@mcn.org


Question 2.3 Recent trend in total area infested within state? B Other Published Material
Describe trend:

As in 2.2 above, total area is likely increasing as seeds are dispersed; however, success rate of dispersal events is likely quite low. Calflora Database shows documented occurrences only from SF Bay Area counties (2), but I've seen the plant established at Folsom Lake (Sacramento and Placer Counties), in riparian areas and coastal prairies in Mendocino County, and recall anecdotes of its occurrence in southern California riparian areas (1). CSU-Chico (3) cites Pyracantha as common in the Sacramento Valley. Pyracantha is probably well distributed, if not especially abundant, in the state. Continued introductions, including horticultural uses, + no management = increasing area of infestation.


Sources of information:

1. Warner, PJ. 1999-2004. Personal observations in Marin, Sacramento, San Mateo, Sonoma, Mendocino Counties. 707/937-9172; pwarner@mcn.org
2. Calflora Database. 2004. www.calflora.org
3. California State University, Chico. 2004. Exotic Riparian Plants Common to the Sacramento Valley. Online @ http://www.csuchico.edu/~pmaslin/Cr.Manag/exotic.html


Question 2.4 Innate reproductive potential? B Other Published Material
Describe key reproductive characteristics:

One mature plant can produce more than one million seeds annually (1), translating to over 1000 seeds/square meter (fruits w/ stones, each 1-2 seeded (3)). Plants do not mature rapidly (2) nor tend to spread vegetatively. Is reproductive success abetted by passage of seeds through animal digestive tracts? Produces prolific numbers of fruits, but does not reproduce from vegetative fragments; will resprout. Longevity of viable seed in soil is unknown.


Sources of information:

1. Ecoaction.net. 2004. Weeds: Pyracantha angustifolia. Online @ http://www.ecoaction.net.au/ccserac/docs/weeds/pyracantha.htm
2. Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER). 2004. Pyracantha angustifolia. Online @ http://www.hear.org/pier/wra/pacific/pyracantha_angustifolia_htmlwra.htm
3. Hickman, JC (editor). 1993. The Jepson Manual: Higher Plants of California (Third Printing, with corrections). University of California Press, Berkeley. p. 972.


Question 2.5 Potential for human-caused dispersal? A Other Published Material
Identify dispersal mechanisms:

Horticultural sales (1,2); branch & fruit collection (e.g., for wreaths) (2); landscape debris dumping (spreads fruits to new locations, where birds can further distribute) (2). Find a nursery (other than specialty nurseries) that doesn't sell Pyracantha! Still widely planted domestically and municipally as a border or screening plant. Plants grow fast, and Pyracantha fruits travel far and wide as landscape maintenance pruning debris.


Sources of information:

1. Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER). 2004. Pyracantha angustifolia. Online @ http://www.hear.org/pier/wra/pacific/pyracantha_angustifolia_htmlwra.htm
2. Warner, PJ. 1999-2004. Personal observations in Marin, Sacramento, San Mateo, Sonoma, Mendocino Counties. 707/937-9172; pwarner@mcn.org


Question 2.6 Potential for natural long-distance dispersal? A Other Published Material
Identify dispersal mechanisms:

Widely acknowledged as bird-dispersed; fruits very attactive to several groups of avians (1,2). Attractive bright red fruit; lots of feeding, followed by flying, then perching (or not) ..... well, you know the rest!


Sources of information:

1. Ecoaction.net. 2004. Weeds: Pyracantha angustifolia. Online @ http://www.ecoaction.net.au/ccserac/docs/weeds/pyracantha.htm
2. Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER). 2004. Pyracantha angustifolia. Online @ http://www.hear.org/pier/wra/pacific/pyracantha_angustifolia_htmlwra.htm


Question 2.7 Other regions invaded? B Other Published Material
Identify other regions:

South Africa (riparian), Australia (woodlands, bushland), Hawai'i (upland forests), much of eastern North America (especially the southeast and northeast), Oregon Pyracantha has not been reported from interior areas of woodland, scrub, chaparral in California, so these types, or adjacent riparian and lakeside areas, may be vulnerable to infestation in the future.


Sources of information:

1. Ecoaction.net. 2004. Weeds: Pyracantha angustifolia. Online @ http://www.ecoaction.net.au/ccserac/docs/weeds/pyracantha.htm
2. Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER). 2004. Pyracantha angustifolia. Online @ http://www.hear.org/pier/wra/pacific/pyracantha_angustifolia_htmlwra.htm
3. Eugene Parks and Open Space. 2004. Invasive Species Discouraged-from-use List. 2004. City of Eugene, OR. Online @ http://www.ci.eugene.or.us/parks/volunteer/invasive_list2.htm
4. USDA, NRCS. 2004. The PLANTS Database, Version 3.5 (http://plants.usda.gov). National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.


Section 3: Distribution
Question 3.1 Ecological amplitude/Range? A Other Published Material

Riparian and lakeside areas, marsh edges, coastal scrub and prairie Will become established with adequate moisture regime, so these sites are more vulnerable; probably intolerant of extensive freezing temperatures; Pyracantha is shade-intolerant, but will grow in sub-canopy of deciduous woodlands.


Sources of information:

Calflora Database. 2004. www.calflora.org
California State University, Chico. 2004. Exotic Riparian Plants Common to the Sacramento Valley. Online @ http://www.csuchico.edu/~pmaslin/Cr.Manag/exotic.html
Hickman, JC (editor). 1993. The Jepson Manual: Higher Plants of California (Third Printing, with corrections). University of California Press, Berkeley. p. 972.
Warner, PJ. 1999-2004. Personal observations in Marin, Sacramento, San Mateo, Sonoma, Mendocino Counties. 707/937-9172; pwarner@mcn.org


Question 3.2 Distribution/Peak frequency? C Observational
Describe distribution:

No data on distribution; Pyracantha is generally not abundant, but I find it frequently along creeks, and in moist coastal scrub and prairie, although generally not in great numbers. very much a guess on the proportion of riparian and coastal habitats with Pyracantha a floristic element.


Sources of information:

Warner, PJ. 1999-2004. Personal observations in Marin, Sacramento, San Mateo, Sonoma, Mendocino Counties. 707/937-9172; pwarner@mcn.org


Worksheet A - Innate reproductive potential

Reaches reproductive maturity in 2 years or less No
Dense infestations produce >1,000 viable seed per square meter Yes
Populations of this species produce seeds every year. Yes
Seed production sustained over 3 or more months within a population annually No
Seeds remain viable in soil for three or more years Unknown
Viable seed produced with both self-pollination and cross-pollination No
Has quickly spreading vegetative structures (rhizomes, roots, etc.) that may root at nodes No
Fragments easily and fragments can become established elsewhere No
Resprouts readily when cut, grazed, or burned Yes
Total points: 4
Total unknowns: 1
Total score: B?

Related traits:

prolific fruit production (thousands/year on mature plants).

Worksheet B - Arizona Ecological Types is not included here

Worksheet C - California Ecological Types

(sensu Holland 1986)
Major Ecological Types Minor Ecological Types Code?
Marine Systemsmarine systems
Freshwater and Estuarine lakes, ponds, reservoirs
Aquatic Systemsrivers, streams, canals
estuaries
Dunescoastal
desert
interior
Scrub and Chaparralcoastal bluff scrub
coastal scrubC, 5% - 20%
Sonoran desert scrub
Mojavean desert scrub (incl. Joshua tree woodland)
Great Basin scrub
chenopod scrub
montane dwarf scrub
Upper Sonoran subshrub scrub
chaparral
Grasslands, Vernal Pools, Meadows, and other Herb Communitiescoastal prairieC, 5% - 20%
valley and foothill grassland
Great Basin grassland
vernal pool
meadow and seep
alkali playa
pebble plain
Bog and Marshbog and fen
marsh and swampD, < 5%
Riparian and Bottomland habitatriparian forest
riparian woodlandC, 5% - 20%
riparian scrub (incl.desert washes)D, < 5%
Woodlandcismontane woodland
piñon and juniper woodland
Sonoran thorn woodland
Forestbroadleaved upland forest
North Coast coniferous forest
closed cone coniferous forest
lower montane coniferous forest
upper montane coniferous forest
subalpine coniferous forest
Alpine Habitatsalpine boulder and rock field
alpine dwarf scrub
Amplitude (breadth): B
Distribution (highest score): C

Infested Jepson Regions

Click here for a map of Jepson regions