Thursday, December 03, 2009

Pyracantha Or Cotoneaster?

It appears we have a little bit of both. Well, not us, but neighbors of ours. One has the plant with red berries while another has the plant with the orange berries. I assumed both were pyracantha.

I think this is pyracantha; beautiful in orange.

However, on closer inspection, it appears that they are not the same plant. The pyracantha has larger leaves that are serrated, and the plant is covered in thorns. The cotoneaster, on the other hand, has smaller, smooth-edged leaves and no thorns. If you enlarge these photos (by clicking on them), you can see the differences pretty clearly.

I believe this is cotoneaster; fiery in red.

After looking at my photos, I can see the difference. It just goes to show you, taking time to stop and look at things closely, challenging your assumptions, and doing a little research, can have interesting results. Of course, there's always the possibility that I'm completely wrong (and I invite you to please let me know if I've tripped up).

Whatever did we do before personal computers and the internet? I know. Libraries.


  1. So, the big question...

    Can you eat these things? If yes, well then... I'm looking forward to seeing pictures of the delicious recipes you make using these fruits... Never tried them, myself...

  2. Different but both gorgeous.

  3. You're right. The top one is "buisson ardent" known as Pyracantha, which means, if I'm not mistaken, flower of fire.
    The bottom one is Cotoneaster, which is short for Cotton-Tail Easter Bunny!

    I have no idea if the berries are edible. You could try pyracantha preserves for Xmas or cotoneaster jelly for... Easter.

  4. When I first saw the title of today's post I thought you were both suffering from a rare, tropical decease :) Martine

  5. Delighted to be enlightened. We have a cotoneaster in the front yard and I've always wondered what it was. Now I know.


  6. leesa, I'm not sure; Ken looked them up and we think they are edible, but not particularly good. We won't be trying them!

    nadege, they give the neighborhood a little color this time of year.

    chm, in the meantime, we'll have to pâques them away...

    evelyn, me too!

    martine, those are always fatal!

    susan, cool!

  7. We have some cotoneaster. I love how festive they look at this time of year, as if they produced those ruby red berries just for Christmas.


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