Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster) is related to the earlier posted Pyracantha – it is a genus of woody plants in the rose family, native to the temperate Asia (including Japan, Europe, north Africa), with a strong concentration of diversity in the genus in the mountains of southwestern China and the Himalayas. They are related to hawthorns (Crataegus), firethorns, photinias, and rowans (Sorbus).

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There between 70-300 species of cotoneaster. Most are shrubs or small trees but there are alpine species growing at high altitude (e.g. C. integrifolius, which grows at 3000-4000 m that are good groundcover, while the larger species occur in scrub and woodland gaps at lower altitudes.

The branching pattern is very interesting – often developing a ‘herringbone’ form of branching. The leaves are arranged alternately, 0.5-15 cm long, ovate to lanceolate, entire.The flowers are produced in late spring creamy white to light pink, 10-20 stamens and up to five styles. The fruit well, you can see them in the picture, are bright red, or a golden yellow-orange.

Cotoneaster species are used as larval food plants by some Lepidoptera species including Grey Dagger, Mottled Umber, Short-cloaked Moth and Winter Moth.


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