AskDefine | Define pyracantha

Dictionary Definition

Pyracantha n : any of various thorny shrubs of the genus Pyracantha bearing small white flowers followed by hard red or orange-red berries [syn: pyracanth, fire thorn, firethorn]

User Contributed Dictionary

Extensive Definition

Firethorn (Pyracantha) is a genus of thorny evergreen large shrubs in the family Rosaceae, subfamily Maloideae. They are native from southeast Europe east to southeast Asia, and are closely related to Cotoneaster, but have serrated leaf margins and numerous thorns (Cotoneaster is thornless).
The plants reach up to 6 m tall. The seven species have white flowers and either red, orange, or yellow berries (more correctly pomes). The flowers are produced during late spring and early summer; the pomes develop from late summer, and mature in late autumn.


Pyracanthas are valuable ornamental plants, grown in gardens for their decorative flowers and fruit, often very densely borne. Their dense thorny structure makes them particularly valued in situations where an impenetrable barrier is required. The aesthetic characteristics of pyracanthas plants, in conjunction with their home security qualities, makes them a considerable alternative to artificial fences and walls. They are also a good shrub for a wildlife garden, providing dense cover for roosting and nesting birds, summer flowers for bees and an abundance of berries as a food source. Pyracantha berries are not poisonous as commonly thought; although they are very bitter, they are edible when cooked and are sometimes made into jelly.
"Orange Charmer"


External links

pyracantha in Danish: Ildtorn
pyracantha in German: Feuerdorn
pyracantha in Spanish: Pyracantha
pyracantha in French: Pyracantha
pyracantha in Upper Sorbian: Pyrakanta
pyracantha in Lithuanian: Dyglainė
pyracantha in Dutch: Vuurdoorn
pyracantha in Japanese: トキワサンザシ属
pyracantha in Portuguese: Pyracantha
pyracantha in Swedish: Eldtornssläktet
pyracantha in Turkish: Ateş dikeni
pyracantha in Chinese: 火棘属
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