The Berries Gallery:

Berries portrait of
Pyracantha coccinea,




Our firethorn bush was thirteen to fifteen feet tall produced copious berries only up near the top because the lower portion of the bush is too much shaded by a Holly Tree & a Douglas Fir. It's quite shade tolerant really, but for May flowers & autumn's bright orange-red berries it would prefer full sun. On a hard-raining day, one of the upper branches got so heavy with rainfall that it bent over so that I could snap a few September portraits at eye-level, even though ordinarily I would've had to have gotten up on a ladder for such a close-up. The leaves are a shiny green & those which seem a duller green in this picture are actually the undersides of the leaves, turned upward as the branch bent down.

When this was planted probably decades ago, the holly tree was likely quite small, & it seemed a good location in full sun when some past owner of the house planted it, & it would've been densely berried every autumn & winter top to bottom rather than just on branches that can reach out into the sun. The Firethorn couldn't be moved to a sunnier spot at this late date, because they never transplant well, hardy though they are if left in place. It was a beautiful broadleaf evergreen even without as much berry-drama as it could've provided in full sun. But for sundry reasons (intruding upon a garden access path with its sharp thorns, & growing in among the branches of a Paperbark Maple keeping the maple from sufficient sunlight), I eventually cut this huge shrub to the ground. Such decisions are always very hard to make, but where Pyracantha is concerned, it can grow back from the ground surprisingly quickly, so it's not an irreversible decision.

For more about Firethorn, see the
Pyracantha coccinea page

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