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Pyracantha coccinea is often confused with:
Pyracantha koidzumii Pyracantha koidzumii
Plants that fill a similar niche:
Taxodium distichum Taxodium distichum
Myrica cerifera Myrica cerifera
Quercus nigra Form

Scarlet Pyracantha Pyracantha coccinea

Other Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
py-ra-KAN-tha kok-SIN-ee-uh
Description

This drought tolerant medium evergreen shrub in the Roseaceae family makes an impenirable hedge that can be used for screening, to define property lines, or for security. It grows up to 18' and is upright and stiff. It works well in mass plantings and it effective on slopes for erosion control. It grows relatively rapidly and can be trained against a wall or espalier or border. It also does well as a specimen plant. It can become overgrown quite easily and will need to be regularly pruned.  It can be sheared, but severe pruning right after flowering will affect fruit set. The beautiful red berries are relished by the birds and are available from summer to fall (or until eaten by the birds).   It is more cold-hardy than P. koidzumii but will still need protection from cold winds and winter frost. It is often confused with P. koidzummi, but is distinguished by the leaves that are broadest at the middle and taper upward, which are different from P. koidzumii leaves that are widest apically and are truncate. This plant is moderately salt tolerant. It blooms in late spring to early summer, and has showy but extremely foetid flowers. The red berries mature in fall and persist though winter. Sharp spur thorns are present on stems. This plant is difficult to transplant. It is tolerant of partial shade and hot, dry conditions. It prefers a pH between 5.5 and 7.5. It has pest problems with aphids, lacebugs scale, fireblight, twig blight, fruit scab, and other disease problems.

Seasons of Interest: 

     Leaves: Evergreen; Bloom: Spring/Summer; Fruit: Fall

Wildlife Value: Fruits are enjoyed by birds.  This shrub is particularly resistant to damage by deer.

Insects, Diseases, or Other Plant Problems: Aphids, lacebug and scale can be a problem. Susceptible to scab, fireblight, and wilt. Thorns are challenging when pruning.  Plant away from high traffic areas or children and pets frequent.  Protect from cold winter weather.

Form:  Open, stiff, thorny, arching branches

Habit:  Semi-evergreen to evergreen

Site:  Sun to partial shade; best in well-drained soil though it tolerates clay. Not winter hardy so plant in protected area.

Quick ID Hints:

  • Leaves elliptic to lanceolate, acute, serrulate
  • Evergreen shrub with stiff, thorny spur branches
  • Red berries on spurs in fall persisting through winter
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Aurea'
  • 'Lalandei'
  • 'Thornless'
Tags:
#thorns#evergreen#drought tolerant#wildlife plant#salt tolerant#low maintenance#espalier#security#playground#erosion control#showy fruits#hedges#cpp#deer resistant#children's garden#fantz#malodorus#clay soils tolerant#bird friendly
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Aurea'
  • 'Lalandei'
  • 'Thornless'
Tags:
#thorns#evergreen#drought tolerant#wildlife plant#salt tolerant#low maintenance#espalier#security#playground#erosion control#showy fruits#hedges#cpp#deer resistant#children's garden#fantz#malodorus#clay soils tolerant#bird friendly
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Pyracantha
    Species:
    coccinea
    Family:
    Rosaceae
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Southern Central & Southern Europe to Iran
    Wildlife Value:
    Fruits are enjoyed by birds. This shrub is particularly resistant to damage by deer.
    Play Value:
    Edible fruit
    Wildlife Food Source
    Dimensions:
    Height: 8 ft. 0 in. - 18 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 8 ft. 0 in. - 20 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Arching
    Erect
    Open
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Usda Plant Hardiness Zone:
    6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Orange
    Red/Burgundy
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Berry
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Fruits are showy orange-red globose berries that are less than an inch in size, attract birds, and persist into winter.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Corymb
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Flowers are white, foetid, and less than an inch in size. They persist into winter. Inflorescence is a corymb on spurs of last year's growth that are 1-1.5" in size.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Margin:
    Crenulate
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Leaves are alternate, simple, evergreen to semi-evergreen, elliptic to lanceolate, acute, cuneate, crenulate-serrulate to entire, and up to an 1.5" long.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Buds:
    Hairy
    Stem Description:
    Stems are pubescent at first, and become glossy brown with thorns that are less than an inch long.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Recreational Play Area
    Landscape Theme:
    Children's Garden
    Edible Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Hedge
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Salt