The cranberry cotoneaster gets its common name from the abundant red fruit it bears in the fall, which resemble cranberries. It is a low, wide-spreading shrub with a stiff branching pattern. Young shoots grow in a herringbone pattern from older wood and form a dense, impenetrable tangle. Flowers are small and pink, blooming from May to June. They are attractive but not overwhelming. The glossy green foliage turns purple-red in the late summer and fall. There are more than 400 examples of the cranberry cotoneaster in the collections of the Chicago Botanic Garden; it is a versatile shrub.
Members of the genus Cotoneaster are characterized by a stiff, dense branching structure, small, glossy leaves of fine texture, and abundant fruit in the form of small pomes, which are generally in shades of red/orange but may also be cream or black and may persist into winter. Generally unfussy about soil pH, cotoneasters are reliable and durable shrubs often used as hedges or groundcovers.
The genus Cotoneaster includes at least 90 species of shrubs native to the temperate regions of Europe and Asia, with a concentration in western China. There are no cotoneasters native to the U.S., though a number of species and their hybrids and cultivars flourish in the northern U.S. and Canada. The Chicago Botanic Garden's collections contain almost 20 species among nearly 30 varieties and more than 2,500 individual plants.
Screen/Hedge, Bedding or Border, Groundcover
Attracts Birds, Attracts Butterflies