Apr. 8, 2022

spreading cotoneaster, Cotoneaster divaricatus

This cotoneaster sprang up in my garden, no doubt contributed by a bird. They are popular with robins. If you have a similar experience, you can easily identify it as a cotoneaster from the small closed flowers and red berries that follow. Beyond that, good luck! Cotoneasters are another of the genera in the rose family that are a taxonomic mess. There may be 70 species, there may be 400. The identification here is tentative, but it seems to fit, and this is the most common to escape (and then return!) from our plantings. Cotoneasters are more popular for their bright fruit that persist well into cold weather than for these small flowers. They have also been planted for bees, for tea, for wood for small items, and (somewhat mysteriously) for a Middle Eastern food called manna. With us this likely species has been reported from IL, IN, KY, MA, MI, NY, OH, OR, PA, WA, WI, BC, and ON. Lenawee Co MI, 5/29/19. Rose family, Rosaceae.