Cotoneaster horizontalis

14 Nov

Cotoneaster horizontalis berries (Cambridge, 03/11/2011)

Cotoneaster horizontalis berries (Cambridge, 03/11/2011)

Position: Full sun to partial shade

Flowering period: Late Spring to Early Summer

Soil: Well-drained

Eventual Height: 0.5m (2m against a south wall)

Eventual Spread: 1.5m

Hardiness: 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a

Family: Rosaceae

Cotoneaster horizontalis a low growing deciduous shrub with a ground hugging growth habit. It will grow vertically when planted against a south facing wall, hugging the wall face. It’s leaves are dark green in spring and summer, becoming orange and red in autumn. The leaves of the plant are small and glossy, arranged alternately arranged and ovate to lanceolate, with entire leaf margins. The bark is smooth and gray in colour. The stems have a fish-bone pattern. The flowers which are produced in May and June are generally produced in corymbs of up to 100 together and range  in colour from pink to white. These are followed by red pomes (berry like fruits) in late summer which contain three to five seeds.

Cotoneaster horizontalis, commonly known as Herringbone Cotoneaster, Rock Cotoneaster, Rockspray Cotoneaster or Wall Cotoneaster, is native to China. It is a short shrub that is usually cultivated as an ornamental plant especially in public parks. It is believed that this species of Cotoneaster was introduced into Britain in 1879. C. horizontalis was added to the Wildlife and Countryside Act Schedule 9 Part 2 plants list in 2010, this makes it an offense to cause the plant to grow in the wild.

The etymological root of the binomial name Cotoneaster is derived from the old Latin name cotone ’quince’, aster being a Latin substantival suffix indicating ‘resembling’. Horizontalis is derived from the Latin meaning horizontal, in reference to the growth habit of this plant. 

Cotoneaster horizontalis (Cambridge, 03/11/2011)

Cotoneaster horizontalis (Cambridge, 03/11/2011)

The landscape architect should not specify Cotoneaster horizontalis as it is included in Schedule 9 Part 2 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act which makes it an offense to cause the plant to grow in the wild, this is open to interpretation and includes this plant being spread by birds.

Ecologically, Cotoneaster horizontalis flowers are attractive to bees and the berries are attractive to birds.

Cotoneaster horizontalis has been awarded the prestigious Royal Horticultural Societies annual Award of Garden Merit in 1993.

Cotoneaster horizontalis prefers a humus rich, well-drained soil. It will tolerate most pH of soil.

Cotoneaster horizontalis requires little maintenance. Any unwanted self sown seedlings may be removed as required.

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