Synonym(s): Cotoneaster pyracantha
Family: Rosaceae (Rose Family)
Duration and Habit: Perennial Shrub
Firethorn is a large, evergreen shrub that is cherished for its spectacular fall and winter display of scarlet fruits and ability to withstand dry and droughty conditions. Shooting long lanky stems in all directions, firethorn typically grows into a tangled mound up to 10 ft (3.1 m) in height and 12 ft (3.7 m) wide. It is armed with sharp thorns that hide among the dark, glossy green leaves. Clusters (corymbs) of small white flowers appear in spring.
Native Lookalikes: Currently no information available here yet, or there are no native Texas species that could be confused with Scarlet firethorn.
Ecological Threat: Out competes native species in forested areas. Can also impact animals within the ecosystem that are not able to forage from the plant.
Biology & Spread: Birds readily eat berries and disperse seeds. Deer are thought to avoid this shrub because of the plant's sharp spines.
History: Arrived to the U.S. as a common ornamental plant which is still used in landscaping. Due to its dense shrubbery, it is used in many states as a property divider.
U.S. Habitat: It can grown in dry to medium moisture, well-drained soil from full-sun to part shade exposure. It does best in fertile soils with sharp drainage, and is tolerant of clay soils as well as drought conditions.
U.S. Nativity: Introduced to U.S.
Native Origin: Southern Europe to Caucasus Mountains in western Asia.
U.S. Present: AL, CA, DC, LA, MS, NM, OH, OR, PA, TX, UT
Distribution in Texas: Found throughout Central and North Texas, along the I-35 corridor.
List All Observations of Pyracantha coccinea reported by Citizen Scientists
Floridata. 2005. Pyracantha coccinea. (Accessed 20 August 2010: http://www.floridata.com/ref/p/pyra_coc.cfm)
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