Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster spp
Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster species )
Family: Malaceae (apples, etc)
Description: Several species of evergreen or semi-deciduous shrubs about 2m high, sometimes to 4m, and sometimes ground-hugging (C. horizontalis ). Leaves are oval, with a dull green upper surface and usually a white underside with a covering of fine hairs. Clusters of small white or pink flowers are followed by small red or orange-red fruits. Both photographs show two species of cotoneaster growing side by side. Cotoneaster glaucophyllus has the largest leaves, with red berries. The smaller leaved species with pink flowers and ornage-red berries is Cotoneaster franchetii .
Preferred habitat and impacts:Garden escapees, usually found close to towns or old farmhouses, often on roadsides under trees and fences. Birds may spread the seed some distance from habitation.
Dense infestations will smother native vegetation. Berries are slightly poisonous especially for young children. Cotoneaster can act as the host for bacterial fireblight, a disease of orchards. Encourages the build up of pest species of native fruit-eating birds such as currawongs, which prey on the nestlings of more desirable bird species.
Dispersal:Birds. Dumped garden waste with fruits on it.
Look-alikes: Several native shrubs in the genus Pomaderris have leaves similar to cotoneaster, but their clustered white or yellow flowers have less conspicuous petals, and they do not produce berries.
Weeds, hawthorn and pyracantha have similar fruits. Both these plants are spiny.
Control:For large plants, cut and paint. Seedlings and smaller plants can be hand-pulled or dug out. Root suckers are likely to arise after cutting the parent plant, and these will need follow-up cutting and painting or spraying.