Cotoneaster conspicuus Comber ex Marquand

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Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles

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'Cotoneaster conspicuus' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online ( Accessed 2021-09-26.


  • C. conspicuus var. decorus Russell
  • C. microphyllus var. conspicuus (Marquand) Yü
  • C. permutatus Klotz


Traditional English name for the formerly independent state known to its people as Bod now the Tibet (Xizang) Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China. The name Xizang is used in lists of Chinese provinces.
Lacking hairs smooth. glabrescent Becoming hairless.
globularSpherical or globe-shaped.
Inversely lanceolate; broadest towards apex.
Egg-shaped; broadest towards the stem.
Lying flat.
(syn.) (botanical) An alternative or former name for a taxon usually considered to be invalid (often given in brackets). Synonyms arise when a taxon has been described more than once (the prior name usually being the one accepted as correct) or if an article of the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature has been contravened requiring the publishing of a new name. Developments in taxonomic thought may be reflected in an increasing list of synonyms as generic or specific concepts change over time.


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Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles

Recommended citation
'Cotoneaster conspicuus' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online ( Accessed 2021-09-26.

An evergreen shrub of variable habit, usually seen as a prostrate or low, spreading shrub in the wild but, in some forms, reaching a height of 8 ft or so in cultivation; shoots villose. Leaves varying from ovate, oval and oblanceolate to linear-obovate, 16 to 14 in. long, 112 to 14 in. wide, glabrous and shining, black-green above, grey and woolly beneath. Flowers solitary, 38 to 12 in. wide; petals spreading, roundish, white, opening in May; anthers, dark red-purple. Fruit bright shining scarlet, globose to obovoid, 38 in. wide. Bot. Mag., t. 9554.

Native of S.E. Tibet; discovered and introduced by Kingdon Ward in 1925 from Gyala on the Tsangpo River. The plant from which he took the seed grew pressed against a rock, but its offspring at Nymans in Sussex eventually reached a height of about 8 ft before dying of honey-fungus, and seedlings from them have reached a height of 6 ft in some gardens. On the other hand the plants at Exbury mentioned in previous editions have retained a low, spreading habit and at Wisley, on the rock-work opposite the greenhouses, there is a ground-hugging specimen which agrees well in habit with the wild parent plant. However, too much can be (indeed, has been) made of these differences, which may depend partly on situation. As usually seen in cultivation C. conspicuus is neither erect nor prostrate, but a low spreading shrub which builds up to a height of some 4 ft. A vigorous form was introduced more recently by Ludlow, Sherriff and Elliot (LSE 13310), which makes a mounded bush to about 8 ft high.

C. conspicuus ranks as one of the most valuable of the shrubby species as regards both flower and fruit. The berries are not attractive to birds and usually persist on the bush throughout the winter; the same is true in Tibet, where Kingdon Ward saw bushes still covered with fruit in mid-April.


Marquand, in the absence of wild material, drew up the technical description of C. conspicuus from a cultivated plant. This was a prostrate form and had been raised in the U.S.A. from seed received from Exbury. It was this plant that Russell subsequently named var. decorus, which is therefore a superfluous name and a synonym of typical C. conspicuus. The fact that it has gained currency in gardens is due to the quite erroneous belief that it is the taller form that is the typical one. In fact, Marquand made it clear that he regarded both forms as part of the normal variation of the species. If a distinction were to be made between them, then it is the taller form which would require the distinguishing name. Indeed, Dr Klotz has given it specific rank as C. permutatus.

From the Supplement (Vol. V)

† cv. ‘Highlight’. – This cultivar derives from the introduction by Ludlow, Sherriff and Elliott mentioned on page 738.