Cotoneaster (Garden) Cotoneaster spp.

Status Non-native, invasive
Best Time to See May, June, July
Colour Red

Non-native invasive plants.

Cotoneasters provide an important reminder that even with the best intentions of gardeners, the wind, birds and other animals can help plants to ‘escape over the garden wall’.

Plantlife is particularly concerned about four types of cotoneaster, all of which have been judged to be a ***** Critical Risk under the Rapid Risk Assessment:

  • Hollyberry cotoneaster (C. bullatus)
  • Wall cotoneaster (C. horizontalis)
  • Small-leaved cotoneasters (C. microphyllus agg.)
  • Himalayan cotoneaster (C. simonsii).

What's the problem?

These popular garden and landscaping shrubs are also popular with birds who enjoy the berries and spread the seed. This introduces them into the wild, where they damage native vegetation and can be difficult to eradicate. They are especially problematical on limestone cliffs, pavements and screes, where many rare native species also often grow.

Plantlife is engaged in removing cotoneaster to save the rare species found there, as part of our Portland project. Click here to read more...

All these species are listed on Schedule 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act in England and Wales therefore, it is also an offence to plant or otherwise cause to grow these species in the wild.

Did you know?

The Cotoneaster genus can be deciduous or evergreen shrubs or small trees, with simple, entire leaves. It has clusters of small white or pink flowers in late spring and early summer, followed by showy red, purple or black berries.

In addition to the non-native garden cotoneasters there is also a critically endangered native wild coneaster also known as the Great Orme berry.