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Cotoneaster horizontalis Decne. var. perpusillus

Rockspray cotoneaster

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassRosidaeRoses, legumes, proteas, dogwoods, hydrangeas, mistletoes, euphorbias, grapes, many more
OrderRosalesRose family and eight others
FamilyRosaceaeIncludes apples, apricots, plums, cherries, peaches, pears, raspberries, strawberries, almonds, roses, meadowsweets, photinias, firethorns, rowans, and hawthorns; many others
GenusCotoneasterFrom Latin for “quince-like,” possibly from the leaf shape
Specieshorizontalis“Growing horizontally”
var.perpusillusLatin for “very small, tiny”

About plant names...

Rock cotoneaster is native to western China, but has escaped and is now found in some areas of North America.

Identification: These plants are prostrate, spreading horizontally over rock surfaces. They are 1-2½′ (30-76 cm) in height—the ones I have seen so far are plastered nearly flat against the rock. They may spread up to 8′ (2.4 m). Stems may have a fishbone pattern. Leaves are alternate, unlobed, dark green on top, light green and finely hairy below, ⅛-¼″ (6-8 mm) in length. Plants are semi-evergreen, retaining at least some leaves in winter; leaves become tinged with purple. Flowers are pale pink, appear from May to June. Berries are bright red, oval-shaped, ~3/16″ (5-6 mm) × 1/16-⅛″ (3-4 mm), distributed evenly among the foliage.

Online References:

The University of Connecticut Plant Database

The Missouri Botanical Garden

SEINet—the Southwest Environmental Information Network


Cotoneaster perpusillus


Cotoneaster horizontalis var. perpusillus description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 25 May 2020.

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Cotoneaster horizontalis (rockspray cotoneaster)

6/17/2012 · Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, Boothbay, Maine · ≈ 14 × 9″ (35 × 23 cm)

Cotoneaster horizontalis (rockspray cotoneaster)

6/17/2012 · Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, Boothbay, Maine · ≈ 7 × 4½″ (17 × 11 cm)

Range: Zones 5a-7a:

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