This non-native invasive shrub comes in endless varieties and is spread by birds. The plants out-compete native vegetation and can be difficult to eradicate. They are especially problematical in limestone cliffs, pavements and screes.
A genus of Chinese origin, Cotoneaster has been a firm favourite with gardeners for decades. Unfortunately, the berries are also loved by birds, which has resulted in the escape of the plants into the wild. There are a huge number of varieties (reportedly up to 300) - however there are 5 species of Cotoneaster that are particularly problematic and as a result, were added to the list of Schedule 9 species in the Wildlife and Countryside Act in 2010. These are;
- Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster horizontalis)
- Entire-leaved Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster integrifolius)
- Himalayan Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster simonsii)
- Hollyberry Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster bullatus)
- Small-leaved Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster microphyllus)
The plants are distinctive in character, with small, dark green waxy leaves, creamy flowers in late spring and early summer, followed by bright red berries in autumn. The berries are often visible on the plants well into spring the following year.
Take a look at the images below.
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