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Stern's Cotoneaster

Cotoneaster sternianus

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Rosaceae (Rose)
Also in this family:
Acute Leaf-lobed Lady's-mantle, Alpine Cinquefoil, Alpine Lady's-mantle, Ampfield Cotoneaster, Arran Service Tree, Arran Whitebeam, Barren Strawberry, Bastard Agrimony, Bastard Service Tree, Bearberry Cotoneaster, Bird Cherry, Blackthorn, Bloody Whitebeam, Bramble, Bristol Whitebeam, Broad-leaved Whitebeam, Broadtooth Lady's-mantle, Bronze Pirri-pirri-bur, Bullace Plum, Bullate Cotoneaster, Burnet Rose, Catacol Whitebeam, Caucasian Lady's-mantle, Cheddar Whitebeam, Cherry Laurel, Cherry Plum, Chinese Photinia, Cloudberry, Clustered Lady's-mantle, Common Agrimony, Common Hawthorn, Common Lady's-mantle, Common Medlar, Common Ninebark, Common Whitebeam, Crab Apple, Creeping Chinese Bramble, Creeping Cinquefoil, Crimean Lady's-mantle, Cultivated Apple, Cultivated Pear, Cut-leaved Blackberry, Damson, Devon Whitebeam, Dewberry, Diel's Cotoneaster, Dog Rose, Doward Whitebeam, Dropwort, Elm-leaved Bramble, English Whitebeam, Entire-leaved Cotoneaster, False Salmonberry, Field Rose, Firethorn, Fodder Burnet, Fragrant Agrimony, Franchet's Cotoneaster, Garden Lady's-mantle, Garden Strawberry, Giant Meadowsweet, Glaucous Dog Rose, Goatsbeard Spiraea, Gough's Rock Whitebeam, Great Burnet, Greengage Plum, Grey-leaved Whitebeam, Hairless Lady's-mantle, Hairy Lady's-mantle, Hautbois Strawberry, Himalayan Blackberry, Himalayan Cotoneaster, Himalayan Whitebeam, Hoary Cinquefoil, Hollyberry Cotoneaster, Hupeh Rowan, Hybrid Cinquefoil, Hybrid Geum, Irish Whitebeam, Japanese Cherry, Japanese Quince, Japanese Rose, Jew's Mallow, Juneberry, Lancaster Whitebeam, Late Cotoneaster, Least Lady's-mantle, Least Whitebeam, Leigh Woods Whitebeam, Ley's Whitebeam, Liljefor's Whitebeam, Littleleaf Cotoneaster, Llangollen Whitebeam, Llanthony Whitebeam, Lleyn Cotoneaster, Loganberry, Many-flowered Rose, Margaret's Whitebeam, Marsh Cinquefoil, Meadowsweet, Midland Hawthorn, Mougeot's Whitebeam, Mountain Ash, Mountain Avens, Mountain Sibbaldia, Moupin's Cotoneaster, No Parking Whitebeam, Ocean Spray, Orange Whitebeam, Pale Bridewort, Pale Lady's-mantle, Parsley Piert, Pirri-pirri-bur, Plymouth Pear, Portuguese Laurel, Purple-flowered Raspberry, Quince, Raspberry, Rock Cinquefoil, Rock Lady's-mantle, Rock Whitebeam, Round-leaved Dog Rose, Round-leaved Whitebeam, Rum Cherry, Russian Cinquefoil, Salad Burnet, Sargent's Rowan, Scannell's Whitebeam, Service Tree, Sharp-toothed Whitebeam, Sherard's Downy Rose, Shining Lady's-mantle, Ship Rock Whitebeam, Short-styled Rose, Shrubby Cinquefoil, Silver Lady's-mantle, Silverweed, Slender Parsley Piert, Slender-spined Bramble, Small-flowered Sweetbriar, Small-leaved Sweetbriar, Soft Downy Rose, Somerset Whitebeam, Sorbaria, Sour Cherry, Southern Downy Rose, Southern Lady's-mantle, Spineless Acaena, Spring Cinquefoil, St. Lucie's Cherry, Steeplebush, Stirton's Whitebeam, Stone Bramble, Sulphur Cinquefoil, Swedish Service Tree, Swedish Whitebeam, Sweet Briar, Symond's Yat Whitebeam, Tengyueh Cotoneaster, Thimbleberry, Thin-leaved Whitebeam, Tibetan Cotoneaster, Tormentil, Trailing Tormentil, Tree Cotoneaster, Trefoil Cinquefoil, Twin-cliffs Whitebeam, Two-spined Acaena, Wall Cotoneaster, Water Avens, Waterer's Cotoneaster, Waxy Lady's-mantle, Welsh Cotoneaster, Welsh Whitebeam, White Burnet, White's Whitebeam, White-stemmed Bramble, Wild Cherry, Wild Pear, Wild Plum, Wild Service Tree, Wild Strawberry, Willmott's Whitebeam, Willow-leaved Bridewort, Willow-leaved Cotoneaster, Wineberry, Wood Avens, Wye Whitebeam, Yellow-flowered Strawberry
Evergreen shrub
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
90 centimetres tall
Gardens, grassland, roadsides, scrub, walls, woodland.

Pink, 5 petals
Whitish-pink, 5-6mm in diameter. Franchet's Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster franchetii) is a similar species but Stern's Cotoneaster has larger leaves and white anthers. Franchet's Cotoneaster has pale purple anthers.
Clusters of quite large orangish-red berries, between 2 and 5 nutlets. Fruit ripens in October or November.
Small greyish-green leaves with a silvery down on the undersides.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Cotoneaster sternianus is a species of flowering plant in the family Rosaceae, native to China. It is a deciduous shrub or small tree with dark green leaves and small, pink flowers that appear in the spring. In the fall, the plant produces small, red berries that are attractive to birds. Cotoneaster sternianus is known for its attractive flowers and berries and is often grown as an ornamental plant in gardens. It is also used in traditional Chinese medicine. The leaves of Cotoneaster sternianus are glossy and have a smooth margin. They are arranged alternately on the stem and are oblong or elliptical in shape.


Cotoneaster sternianus, also known as Stern's cotoneaster, is a deciduous shrub that is native to China. This plant is widely known for its beautiful, shiny leaves, delicate white flowers, and attractive red berries. With its attractive appearance and low maintenance needs, it is no wonder that Stern's cotoneaster has become a popular choice for many gardeners.

One of the most notable features of Stern's cotoneaster is its shiny, green leaves. The leaves are oval in shape and are typically 1-2 inches long. They are also slightly toothed at the edges, giving them a unique look. In the fall, the leaves turn a stunning golden yellow, adding to the plant's overall appeal.

In the spring, Stern's cotoneaster produces delicate, white flowers that are about 1 inch in diameter. The flowers are arranged in clusters and are very fragrant, attracting a variety of pollinators to your garden. After the flowers have bloomed, they are replaced by small, round, red berries that are very attractive to birds.

Stern's cotoneaster is a low maintenance plant that is easy to grow and care for. It is adaptable to a wide range of soils, including both clay and sand, and is tolerant of a variety of light conditions, including full sun and partial shade. This plant is also drought-tolerant, making it a great choice for gardeners who live in dry climates.

In terms of growth habits, Stern's cotoneaster is a slow-growing shrub that typically reaches a height of 2-3 feet. It has a spreading habit and can grow up to 6 feet wide. This makes it an excellent choice for planting as a specimen plant, in a border, or in a group.

Another great aspect of Stern's cotoneaster is its versatility in the garden. It can be used in a variety of ways, including:

  • Hedge: Stern's cotoneaster makes a great hedge plant, due to its low maintenance requirements and attractive appearance. When planted in a row, it forms a dense screen that provides privacy and wind protection.

  • Groundcover: Because of its spreading habit, Stern's cotoneaster is also an excellent choice for a groundcover. It can be planted on slopes or in areas where other plants may struggle to grow, and will help to prevent erosion and soil loss.

  • Container Planting: Stern's cotoneaster is also a great choice for container planting. When grown in pots, it makes a great accent plant for patios, balconies, or other outdoor living areas.

  • Wildlife Habitat: With its attractive red berries, Stern's cotoneaster is a great plant for attracting birds to your garden. This can help to provide a food source for birds during the winter months, when food is scarce.

In terms of maintenance, Stern's cotoneaster is a low maintenance plant that requires very little attention. It is best to prune the plant in late winter or early spring, before new growth begins. This will help to maintain the plant's shape and encourage healthy growth.

Stern's cotoneaster is also relatively disease and pest-free, making it a great choice for gardeners who want a beautiful plant without the hassle of dealing with pest or disease issues.

Another important factor to consider when planting Stern's cotoneaster is the soil requirements. This plant prefers well-draining soils with a neutral pH. If you have heavy clay soils, it is a good idea to amend the soil with compost or other organic matter to improve drainage. On the other hand, if you have sandy soils, you may need to add organic matter to retain moisture.

When it comes to watering, Stern's cotoneaster is quite drought-tolerant once established. However, it is important to water the plant regularly during its first growing season, to help it get established and grow strong roots. After that, you can reduce watering to once or twice a week during periods of drought.

Another factor to consider is the plant's exposure to sunlight. Stern's cotoneaster prefers full sun or partial shade, but it can tolerate a wide range of light conditions. However, it is best to provide some shade during the hottest part of the day to prevent the leaves from burning.

In terms of fertilization, Stern's cotoneaster is not a heavy feeder and does not require frequent fertilization. However, you can add a slow-release fertilizer in the spring to help the plant get off to a good start. You can also add a layer of compost or other organic matter around the base of the plant to help keep the soil fertile.

In terms of pests and diseases, Stern's cotoneaster is generally quite hardy and resistant to many common issues. However, it can be susceptible to powdery mildew and fire blight, two common plant diseases. To prevent these issues, it is important to plant Stern's cotoneaster in a location with good air circulation and to avoid over-watering.

In conclusion, Stern's cotoneaster is a versatile, low maintenance, and beautiful shrub that is perfect for any garden. With its attractive appearance, ease of care, and wide range of uses, this plant is sure to add interest and beauty to your outdoor space.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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