Cotoneaster frigidus 'St Monique'

Common names:

  • Saint Monica Cotoneaster

Location in the Gardens:

Season of interest:

  • Summer, when cymes of white flowers are produced
  • Autumn, when the flowers are followed by almost spherical, bright red fruit up to 7mm diameter

Description of plant:

This cotoneaster's semi-evergreen or evergreen leaves are very large, dark green in summer, and up to 6 inches in length. They sometimes turn rich shades of red or purple in the autumn and winter, making a perfect foil for the clusters of dark red fruits, which are borne in long, pendulous, drooping clusters and are particularly attractive to waxwings.

A semi-evergreen or evergreen shrub normally growing to approximately 15 ft high. The largest on record is 10m 60cm x 10m 60cm with a trunk diameter of 38cm. with leaves to 6 in. long,

Ideal growing conditions and habitat:

Will grow in any moist, well-drained soil.

They are fully to frost hardy and will prefer full sun, but the evergreens will do well in either sun or semi-shade.

Country of origin:

  • UK, Saint Monica Convent, Bristol

Highdown history:

It was raised from C. frigidus at the Saint Monica Convent in Bristol.

Other interesting information:

This plant has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit in 1933.

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

Can be grown as an informal hedge

Extract from Frederick Stern's book, 'A Chalk Garden' 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.”

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