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Pyracantha Firethorn   Rosaceae
 
Firethorn, Pyracantha
 
Pyracantha is a genus of thorny evergreen large shrubs in the family Rosaceae, with common names Firethorn or Pyracantha. They are native to an area extending from Southeast Europe east to Southeast Asia, resemble and are related to Cotoneaster, but have serrated leaf margins and numerous thorns (Cotoneaster is thornless).
Flowers

The plants reach up to six metres tall. The seven species have white flowers and either red, orange, or yellow berries (more correctly pomes). The flowers are produced during late spring and early summer; the pomes develop from late summer, and mature in late autumn.

Species

Pyracantha angustifolia. Southwest China.
Pyracantha atalantioides. Southern China.
Pyracantha coccinea (Scarlet firethorn). Italy east to Asia Minor.
Pyracantha crenatoserrata. Central China.
Pyracantha crenulata. Himalaya.
Pyracantha koidzumii. Taiwan.
Pyracantha rogersiana. Yunnan.
Uses

Pyracanthas are valuable ornamental plants, grown in gardens for their decorative flowers and fruit, often very densely borne. Their dense thorny structure makes them particularly valued in situations where an impenetrable barrier is required. The aesthetic characteristics of pyracanthas plants, in conjunction with their home security qualities, makes them a considerable alternative to artificial fences and walls. They are also a good shrub for a wildlife garden, providing dense cover for roosting and nesting birds, summer flowers for bees and an abundance of berries as a food source. Pyracantha berries are not poisonous as commonly thought; although they are very bitter, they are edible when cooked and are sometimes made into jelly. In the UK and Ireland Pyracantha and the related genus Cotoneaster are valuable sources of nectar when often the bees have little other forage during the June Gap.
zone 7-10b

   

 

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