Shrub, arching, to 8 feet or more high, but often seen as a lower, informal hedge. Alternate, simple 1–3 inch long leaves that are dark green above, hairy white below. White flowers in clusters, long-lasting clusters of ¼ inch diameter orange-red berries into fall and winter. The berries, like those of Pyracantha (firethorn), attract birds, which eat and disperse them. C. lacteus has been planted at Burnham Pavilion, at the back of CIS, and in different groupings around the Arrillaga Sports Center (clipped as hedge), including occasionally in the green border near Campus Drive toward the Galvez end. C. lacteus is weedy in California, a trait shared with other cotoneasters including C. pannosus, which has naturalized at Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve as well as campus rural areas.
Name derivation: Cotoneaster – From L. cotoneum (quince) and -aster (resembling somewhat) from the similarity of the leaves of some species; lacteus – milky (the flowers).
About this Entry: John Rawlings authored the main text of this entry ca. 2005.