Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Cranberry's long lost cousin

Species name: Cotoneaster apiculatus

Common name: Cranberry cotoneaster

Location: Ontario

Bonus points go out to anyone that remembers the name of the plant in the top photo with the small purple flowers. I'll give you some hints: the flowers have five petals with dark spots near the base of the petal, the leaves are skinny and not very long on the stems, and the plant is native to North America. Think you know what it is? Click HERE to find out.

This species of shrub is native to Western China, and is incredibly slow-growing. Most gardeners love this plant for its evergreen foliage, pink flowers in the spring that attract bees and butterflies, and the red berries (that look like cranberries, hence the common name) that attract bees in the early to late fall. The lack of maintenance required by the plant is also a plus! A word of caution, however: once this shrub is established, it is incredibly difficult to remove from where you don't want it because of the rooting stems. Because of its slow growing habit, it is unlikely to become invasive.

Other than the ornamental use (this particular plant is a cultivar that has been bred to be even more slow growing and more of an upright growth pattern), this plant has no other economic or medicinal use.