Also known as
Bright bead cotoneaster, Cotoneaster serotinus
Where is it originally from?
China and Himalayas
What does it look like?
Spreading evergreen shrub or small tree (<2-5 m) with erect young stems covered in downy hairs when young but becoming hairless and dark reddish-purple when mature, and often covered in sooty mould. Pale blue-green leaves (30-70 x 15-35 mm) mostly along young shoots are dull and hairless above with pale downy hairs below when young but become hairless. Clusters of 15-60 small white flowers (Oct-Jan) followed by scarlet or orange berries (4-7 mm diameter, Feb-Aug).
Are there any similar species?
Cotoneaster franchetii, C. simonsii, C. lacteus, C. harrovianus, and C. parneyi are similar.
Why is it weedy?
Produces large amounts of highly viable seed, matures quickly, very long-lived, and forms dense (often pure) stands, outcompeting native shrub species in a wide range of habitats. Extremely tolerant of damp and drought conditions, hot and cold temperatures, salt, range of soils and semi-shade tolerant.
How does it spread?
Birds distribute seeds widely. Sources of infestations include hedges, roadsides, gardens, quarries, wasteland, and exotic plantations.
What damage does it do?
Overtops and replaces shrub species and becomes the sole understorey or terminal shrub species. Completely prevents establishment of all other species except weedy vines.
Which habitats is it likely to invade?
Most coastline habitats, inshore islands, dry forest and shrubland, forest margins, dry gullies, bluffs, rocky sites, slips, and riverbeds.
What can I do to get rid of it?
Plan to control whole areas to minimise reseeding by birds.
1. Dig out small plants (all year round). Leave on site to rot down.
2. Cut down and paint stump (all year round, best in summer-autumn): metsulfuron-methyl 600g/kg (5g /L) or picloram gel. Treat ends of cut branches if they are left on site.
3. Frilling (big stems only in summer-autumn): 'feather' bark, metsulfuron-methyl 600g/kg (5g/L).
4. Spray (summer-autumn): metsulfuron-methyl 600g/kg (5g/L + penetrant).
What can I do to stop it coming back?
Stumps resprout, often even after swabbing. Replant bared areas with dense groundcover or shrubs to prevent seedling regrowth.