Gardening Magazine

Plant of the Week: Cotoneaster Integrifolius

By Davis Landscape Architecture @DavisLandArch
Cotoneaster integrifolius berry (10/11/2011, London)

Cotoneaster integrifolius berry (10/11/2011, London)

Position: Full Sun to Partial Shade

Flowering period: Spring

Soil: Well-drained

Eventual Height: 1.2m

Eventual Spread: 2.4m

Hardiness: USDA Zones 5a – 9a

Family: Rosaceae

Cotoneaster integrifolius is a low growing evergreen prostrate shrub with a spreading growth habit. It’s leaves are small (7-15m), ovate to oblong, with a rounded tip,  dark green above with a woolly texture beneath and have a leathery structure. The flowers are pink in color and are about 10mm across and are generally borne singly. The fruits are 8mm round red berries, which are attractive to and spread by birds and mature in October. 

Cotoneaster integrifolius, commonly known as the Entire Leaved Cotoneaster or Small Leaved Cotoneaster, is native to the Himalayas, from Himachal Pradesh to SW China. It was formally incorrectly named  Cotoneaster microphyllus. It has become naturalized in Ireland and parts of the UK and is found on rock exposures in quarries, on crags or on non masonry and is overwhelming smaller species of native plant in these locations.

The etymological root of the binomial name for Cotoneaster is derived from the old Latin name cotone ‘quince’ and aster being a Latin substanival suffix indicating ‘resembling’. Integrifolius is derived from the Latin and means ‘with entire leaves’.  

Cotoneaster integrifolius (10/11/2011, London)

Cotoneaster integrifolius (10/11/2011, London)

The landscape architect should not specify Cotoneaster integrifolius as it has been added to the list of banned plants list of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 – Amendments to Schedule 9 in 2010. This is due to the plants spreading habit and invasive nature. The spread of this plant is said to be reducing the number of available habitats for certain native plant species.

This plant is valuable ecologically as it is attractive to birds, who eat the fruit and disperse it’s seed.

C. integrifolius prefers a light, well-drained soil, with some moisture. It can tolerate acidic to strongly acidic, neutral soils.

Maintenance: This plant requires little maintenance. Any pruning should be carried out in early spring.

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