A deciduous shrub of robust growth up to 10 ft high; shoots appressed downy at first. Leaves oval, often inclined to obovate, 11⁄2 to 21⁄2 in. long, the apex rounded, often with a small mucro projecting from the midrib, the base broadly tapered; firm in texture, dark green and glabrous above; stalk 1⁄6 to 1⁄4 in. long. Flowers white, 1⁄4 in. across, crowded in corymbs 11⁄2 to 2 in. wide, that terminate short shoots, opening in July; petals rounded, spreading; calyx glabrous. Fruits globose, crimson, 1⁄4 in. wide, containing two or three nutlets.
C. glaucophyllus was discovered by the French missionary Delavay in 1884, but the true species is rare in gardens, or perhaps not yet introduced. However, it is represented by a form which differs but little from Franchet’s type. This is:
f. serotinus (Hutchins.) Stapf C. serotinus Hutchins. – An evergreen shrub up to 30 ft high; young shoots covered (like the leaf-stalks and flower-stalks) with a close, tawny white down, becoming glabrous and dark brown later. Leaves oval, pointed, tapering at the base to a stalk 1⁄4 in. long; 1 to 3 in. long, 5⁄8 to 11⁄4 in. wide; dark green and glabrous above, pale and at first softly downy beneath, becoming quite glabrous. Flowers borne in July and August on corymbs 2 to 3 in. wide terminating short shoots which carry two or three leaves; they are white, 1⁄4 in. wide; petals rounded; calyx covered with pale down; anthers reddish brown. Fruit bright red, obovoid, 1⁄4 in. wide, containing two or three stones. Bot. Mag., t. 9171.
A native of W. China, introduced by Forrest from Yunnan in 1907 (F. 6754). Plants raised from his seed at Caerhays were in cultivation at Kew in 1914 but this cotoneaster first came into general notice on 13th January 1919, when fruit-bearing sprays were shown at Westminster by the Royal Horticultural Society from the Wisley garden under the name “C. glaucophyllus”. However, when it was figured in the Botanical Magazine in the following year it was as a new species – C. serotinus Hutchins. – and under this name it was long grown in gardens. It was given its present status as a botanical form of C. glaucophyllus by Stapf, who pointed out (Bot. Mag., t. 9171) that it differed from the type mainly in its late-flowering season and unusual freedom in flowering; also in the fruits being glabrous and smaller and the leaves green beneath, not glaucous as in Delavay’s specimen. It is a handsome shrub when bearing good crops of berries and they have the additional attraction of remaining on the shrubs until April. At Highdown, near Worthing, there is a plant 30 ft high and 30 ft in spread (1965).
var. meiophyllus W. W. Sm. – Leaves smaller than in the type (to 1 in. long) and elliptic in shape rather than ovate, rounded at both ends.
var. vestitus W. W. Sm. – Leaves densely downy beneath; inflorescence also more downy than in the type. This and the preceding variety were described from specimens collected by Forrest in Yunnan in 1912.