Cotoneaster frigidus 'Cornubia'

Cotoneaster Cornubia (340)

Common names:

  • Cotoneaster 'Cornubia'

Location in the Gardens:

Season of interest:

  • Summer, when clusters of white flowers are produced
  • Autumn, when the flowers are followed by almost spherical, bright red fruit in long trusses

Description of plant:

This is one of the finest of the larger growing cotoneasters.

Vigorous, arching, semi-evergreen shrub or tree. It is a very spreading shrub up to 6m high and wide, clothed to the ground with foliage. However, by pruning and keeping it to one stem in the early stages, it may be made to develop a genuine tree-like form.

The richly dark green, abundant leaves are 4 to 5 inches long, narrowly elliptic, glabrous above and slightly downy beneath.

Large clusters of slightly unpleasant smelling flowers, each about 1cm wide are produced in early summer. These are followed by brilliant red berries approx. 1cm diameter. They are born in clusters, 2 inches or more wide in Autumn, making the bush very showy at this time of year, and not surpassed in this respect by any other cotoneaster.

Ideal growing conditions and habitat:

Will grow in any soil so long as it's well drained and on the dry side.

It will tolerate any aspect but prefers, and performs best in full sun. Sheltered or exposed sites are OK.

Country of origin:

  • UK, Exbury Gardens

Highdown history:

It was raised at Exbury and is perhaps a hybrid between C. frigidus 'Vicarii' and a plant grown as 'C. glabratus' which was probably itself a hybrid of C. frigidus with a member of the C. salicifolius group (Orn. Fl. Trees & Shrubs, R.H.S. Conf. Rep., 1940, pp. 74 and 77).

Two forms of the cross were distributed but the name 'Cornubia' belongs to the one given the Award of Merit or A.M. in 1933 and a First Class Certificate three years later.

Other interesting information:

The original plant at Exbury is 25 ft high and 20 ft across.

Extract from Sir Frederick Stern's book, 'A Chalk Garden', which describes the Cotoneasters in November and December:

“Some of the late berrying shrubs are at their best in November. C. 'Cornumbia' with the brightest scarlet berries, and C. 'Exburiensis' with light yellow berries, an unusual colour for berries of Cotoneasters, are beautiful evergreen shrubs for this time of year. Both these fine plant were bred by the late Lionel de Rothschild at his celebrated garden at Exbury. One of the tallest of the cotoneasters is 'St Monica', which has large red berries and deep green leaves; it makes a good background to the shrubbery. These cotoneasters, and there are many more not mentioned above, are useful as evergreen shrubs and they light up the garden with their berries in autumn and winter.”

The branches are used in basketry and for making twig bridges in the Himalayas.

Can be grown as an informal hedge.

Cotoneaster Cornubia (744)

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