You are here

Wild Cherry

Wild Cherry


The wild cherry (Prunus avium) is a forest species with potentiality in Galicia, for being a timber producer of high-value in the market. The wild cherry is mainly located in the northern half of the Iberian Peninsula, and in Galicia is often found as companion species in oak and mixed  broadleaved forests. The species is characterized by a medium-fast growth until 50 to 60 years, with yields of 8 to 11 m3/ha year. The wood is highly appreciated and valuable, with yellowish sapwood and reddish heartwood, it is used in woodworking, interior construction, marquetry, carving, etc. It is also used to obtain facing layers, intended for the manufacture of furniture. This species is sensitive to the disease known as leaf spot, produced by the fungus Blumeriella jaapi (Rehm.) V. Arx which causes lesions on the leaves, defoliation and decreased growth. Their plantation is justified especially in high quality lands, with intensive management, and with selected clones with the aim of obtaining quality wood in a short period (25 to 30 years). Future wood plantations must be made with demonstrated quality forest clones, and they must be approved as forest reproductive material and adapted to the areas of use.

Distribución da cerdeira en Europa (Programa Europeo de Recursos Xenéticos Forestais)



Distribución da cerdeira en España (Terceiro Inventario Forestal Nacional)




Objectives of the lines of investigation of the ‘Centro de Lourizán’:

  • To select, conserve and characterize germplasm of Prunus avium collected in the wild, in Galicia and in other areas of the Iberian Peninsula.
  • To perform selection of clones intended for timber production.


We are developing research lines of selection and improvement of wild cherry material for more than a decade in the ‘Centro de Investigacións Forestais de Lourizán’. It is one of the priority species of the ‘Programa de Mellora Xenética do Plan de Innovación e Mellora Forestal de Galicia’ (2010-2020).

In 1996, we started a line of selection of superior trees for timber production of Prunus avium L. that mainly included the Eastern mountain of Galicia. From the selected trees, we collected seeds of open pollination, which were use for an essay of progenies, made by ​​growth selection of the best plants of the best families; these plants were vegetatively multiplied by semi woody cutting and, as a result, we obtained clones that, once planted at the beginning of 1999 in the grounds of the ‘Centro de Lourizán’, they formed a clonal bank. In this bank are represented clonal accessions of the three provinces, 20 families (each family includes plants from seeds of the same selected tree), 122 clones (each clone comes from a single plant seed that has been propagated by semi woody cutting).

Orixe das ortets (Liña 1), ensaios clonais e hortos sementeiros


Ortets origin (Line 1)

In addition, as a result of a coordinated project between centers of various Autonomous Communities (INIA SC98-061), there was a second phenotypic selection of P. avium trees in northern Spain, resulting in a total of 225 selected trees; with scion grafting of this trees, we established seedbed orchards.

Orixe das ortets (Liña 2) e colección de clons


Ortets origin  (Line 2)

In 2003, we began the clonal selection, beginning with activities for the establishment of a protocol for cloning by in vitro culture. The selected trees, once cloned, are set in clonal parcels, seedbed orchards and clonal banks. From the study of the selected trees, there were obtained the following results:

The characterization and selection of superior clones by growth in volume, wood shape, branching system, adaptation to soil and climate.

  • In plantation, the average growth in height after 5 years varied between clones, from 1.66 m (Lugo-37) to 3.28 m (Lugo-46). By straightness of the shaft, the clones that stand out are: Ourense-22, Lugo-23, Lugo-24, Lugo-48 and Lugo-46. We evaluate the genetic characteristics of statistic variables used in the characterization of the trees.
  • We estimated the genetic parameters and we evaluated the correlations young-adult in order to know the possibilities of make new selection trials. The selection in plantation should be made after a minimum number of years of growth, since the values ​​of correlation between height growth after five years, in comparision to growth in four, three and one years are 0.95, 0.85 and 0,35 respectively; Similar results were obtained with diameters

We studied adaptive characters such as resistance to drought and flooding, frost and to Blumeriella jaapi and the phenology of flowering and budding.

  • Regarding the resistance to drought, the clones with better toleration are Ourense-21, Lugo-50 and Ourense-20. Clones that tolerate temporary flooding are Lugo-23, Lugo-37 y Ourense-20. Clones Lugo-23 e Lugo-40 standed out by presenting growth exceeding 120 cm in a growing season and, otherwise, clones Ourense-21 y Pontevedra-30 by presenting growth of less than 50 cm. Drought causes a reduction of height growth average of 26% in comparison to treatment at field capacity. Frozen produce, in this species, damages in all tissues (yolk and cambium from -4,5ºC temperatures, although the most important damage occur when temperatures reach -8ºC.
  • Characterization of flowering phenology and budding: the dates of budding and flowering are clearly connected to the geographical origin of the families. Families from Ourense present earlier budding than the Lugo and Asturias ones. In March, we obtained significant differences between families and between clones that belong to the same family.
  • Selection by tolerance to leaf spot, evaluated by the extent of the lesions on the leaves, indicating that clones with minor injuries were: Lugo-32, Asturias-7, Pais Vasco-11, Navarra-22 e Navarra-47.

Vegetative multiplication techniques

Optimization of different techniques of cloning of 12 years old trees: in vitro culture, steam cutting of crown shoots, graft and root cutting. We selected clones with high rate of propagation, in combination with other interesting characters.

Characterization of 34 clones by molecular markers:

  • The most variable locus was EMPA015 with 12 alleles, otherwise, we found only 4 alleles in EMPA014
  • We found that clone SA12 is triploid because in loci EMPaS01, EMPA005, EMPaS10 EMPaS12 it has got 3 alleles.
  • The dendrogram allows to affirm that most of the clones differ from each other in a high number of alleles
  • It was confirmed that clones LU0104 and LU0108 are medium brothers because they share at least one allele at 9 loci.

Phenotypic characterization

Characterization of clones selected by UPOV characters of the group. We evaluated the genetic and environmental control on characters related to wood production and morphological characters of leaves and fruit (UPOV).

Propagating material

Admission of the first clone of wild cherry and forest propagating material (FPM) in the category described in August 2011 (Prunus avium Lourizán 1) and the second in 2012 (Prunus avium Lourizán-2). DOG Núm. 157, August 18, 2011 Page. 23513. Resolution of July 18, 2011, of the ‘Dirección Xeral de Montes’, which gives publicity to the approval of admission units and their inclusion in the ‘Rexistro Galego de Materiais de Base para a Produción de Materiais Forestais de Reprodución’. Transfer of these clones to the sector.

Current objectives

At present, the objectives are focused on breeding, the selection of clones to form a population of improvement and elite population, the development of controlled crossing between the selected trees and the obtention of new clones. We defined four groups characters of improvement: growth (vigor), wood shape and branch system, resistance to leaf spot, ability to in vitro culture propagation, in order to characterize the materials and chose the best clones. We defined the Elite Population, within the population of Improvement, which is formed by the 16 best clones of the population of Improvement, four clones for each of the four characters of improvement.

These clones are being cloned and the plants are used for controlled crossing. The trees from the seeds of these crossing, we will establish plantations and new clones will be obtained for the population of propagation. The best 16 clones are being cloned by in vitro culture and used in new plantations. Part of them were recorded as forest propagation material and they were transferred to the nurserie sector. In the selection of trees for crossing, we considered the genetic distances, estimated with microsatellites (DNA) in order to minimize the consanguinity between them. The resulting progenies of controlled crossing will be vegetatively multiplied by techniques of in vitro culture and steam cutting and graft.

 Follas de cerdeira con diferente grado de extensión das lesións por cilindrosporiosis.


Follas de cerdeira con diferente grado de extensión das lesións por cilindrosporiosis.


Díaz, R., Zas, R., and Fernández-López, J. 2007. Genetic variation of Prunus avium in susceptibility to cherry leaf spot (Blumeriella jaapii) in spatially heterogeneous infected seed orchards. Annals of Forest Science 64: 21-30.

Díaz, R.; Miranda, ME.; Vilanova, A.; Aletà, N.; Traver, C.; Zabalza, S.; Coello, J.; Piqué, M.; Turrientes, A.; Ligos, J.; Santana, J.; Cisneros, O. 2010. Red de ensayos clonales de Prunus avium L. para determinar el comportamiento de posibles materiales de base de esta especie. IV. Jornadas de Transferencia Tecnológica de Maceda y V Reunión del Grupo de Trabajo de Genética Forestal de la SECF: Repoblación y restauración forestal en un contexto de cambio: Contribución de los recursos genéticos a un nuevo paradigma. Maceda (Ourense), 25-27 d’octubre de 2010PO).

Fernández, R., Santi, F., and Dufour, J. 1994. Les matériels forestiers de reproduction sélectionnés de merisier (Prunus avium L.): classement, provenances et variabilité. Rev. For. Fr. XLVI(6): 629-638.

González-Rosales, M., and Vega-Alonso, P. 1990. Cuidados y tratamientos de la semilla de Prunus avium en vivero. In II Congreso Florestal Nacional, Porto.

Lago-Rivas, Sara ; Miranda-Fontaíña, María Eugenia, Fernández López, Josefa; Toval Hernández Gabriel. 2013. Caracterización por crecimiento y forma de clones de cerezo. Selección de Descriptores de Distinción, Uniformidad y Estabilidad. Actas del 6º Congreso Forestal Español. Vitoria-Gasteiz 10-14 de junio del 2013.

Miranda-Fontaíña, E., Fernández-López, J. 2001. Variabilidad clonal en la micropropagación de Prunus avium. In IV Reunión Sociedad Española de Cultivo In vitro de Tejidos Vegetales. Instituto de Investigaciones Agrobiológicas de Galicia, CSIC, Santiago de Compostela.

Miranda-Fontaíña, M.E.; Fernández-López, J.. 2008. Caracterización de clones de Prunus avium según la disponibilidad hídrica durante su crecimiento. I Simposio Iberoamericano- IV Jornadas Ibéricas de Horticultura Ornamental. Pontevedra, octubre 2008. Presentación póster.pp: 315-318.

Miranda-Fontaíña, M.E. ; Fernández-López, J. 2008. Selección de clones de cerezo (Prunus avium) de origen gallego para su uso ornamental. I Simposio Iberoamericano- IV Jornadas Ibéricas de Horticultura Ornamental. Pontevedra, Octubre 2008. Presentación oral.p: 88-94.

Miranda Fontaíña, Mª Eugenia; Josefa Fernández López, Raquel Díaz Vázquez, Gabriel Toval Hernández. 2011. Prunus avium. Seminario técnico “Liñas actuais de investigación en mellora xenética en distintas especies forestais, e posibilidades de transferencia”. Vifoga. Xunta de Galicia.

Rodríguez, J. 2005. Variabilidad genética de la fenología y susceptibilidad a la cilindrosporiosis del huerto semillero de Prunus avium L. de Areas-Tui. Proyecto Fin de Carrera. Escuela Universitaria de Ingeniería Tecnica Forestal de Pontevedra. Universidad de Vigo. Directores: Raquel Díaz y Juan Picos

DOG Núm. 157, 18 de agosto de 2011 Páx. 23513. Resolución do 18 de xullo de 2011, da Dirección Xeral de Montes, pola que se lle dá publicidade á aprobación de unidades de admisión e á súa inclusión no Rexistro Galego de Materiais de Base para a Produción de Materiais Forestais de Reprodución. (se adjunta documentación presentada y copia de la resolución en el  Diário Oficial de Galícia). Admisión del primer clon de cerezo como material forestal de reproducción en la categoría cualificado: clon Prunus avium Lourizán 1.