An evergreen shrub of low, compact, dense habit 11⁄2 to 21⁄2 ft high; young wood downy. Leaves oval or obovate, about 1⁄3 in. long, dull green above, whitish beneath with a few hairs at first, but becoming nearly or quite glabrous. Flowers solitary, 1⁄4 in. across, pinkish white. Fruit bright red, round, 1⁄4 in. diameter.
Native of the Himalaya up to 14,000 ft. This little evergreen has by some authorities been made a variety of C. microphyllus, which it may possibly be. But it is much more distinct from ordinary C. microphyllus than is C. thymifolius, especially in its habit, which, as Baker’s name implies, is congested. Instead of its branches being spreading or prostrate, they are short, dense, often decurved, the whole forming a compact rounded mass. The dull green, paler leaves, not densely woolly beneath as in C. microphyllus, afford other distinctions. I have therefore retained the original name, and the one by which this plant is best known. It is a charming little evergreen for the rock garden, or for small borders of low shrubs where it runs no danger of being smothered by more aggressive plants.
In recent years similar cotoneasters have been collected in S.E. Tibet (e.g. Kingdon Ward 12386 and Ludlow, Sheriff and Elliott 15782).