PYRACANTHA (Firethorn)

S Europe to SW Asia, the Himalayas, China & Taiwan

Pyracantha, spring 2014


Leaves of this thorny evergreen climber are small, dark green & tough. Its CREAM-coloured flowers are visited by bees in spring – ORANGE berries follow, & may last into winter for hungry birds.

“Their dense thorny structure makes them particularly valued in situations where an impenetrable barrier is required. … aesthetic characteristics of pyracanthas, in conjunction with their home security qualities, makes them an alternative to artificial fences & walls. They are also good shrubs for a wildlife garden, providing dense cover for roosting & nesting birds, summer flowers for bees & an abundance of berries as a food source. In the UK & Ireland Pyracantha and the related genus Cotoneaster are valuable sources of nectar when often the bees have little other forage during the June Gap.”                  

Pyracantha berries in sunshine

Pyracantha flowers closeup

A fine Pyracantha grows at the side of a property on nearby Ambler Road, edging a large concrete ‘garden’ where cars park on Arsenal Matchdays. Its billowing waves of orange berries look lush in autumn.

When choosing a spot to plant Pyracantha, always remember its sharp thorns. Unless tied back or clipped regularly, they may injure passersby.

Years ago RF planted our own Firethorn near the path from the house into the garden, where it became a formidable shrub, a good two metres tall. After it had grown into the path, rasping everyone with its thorns, it was dug up and moved. It now lives on the opposite side of the garden, where it has been trained onto RF’s cane trellis.

RHS advice:

Pyracantha berries on RF trellis, Bempton feeder