Cotoneaster spp. (franchetii, pannosus, lacteus, glaucophyllus, horizontalis)

Family: Rosaceae

Type of weed:

Priority Weed Local Priority Weed. (See more weeds of the class.)

Flowering Months: , , , , ,


Perennial woody shrubs. Cotoneaster has many different habits — prostrate forms through to shrubs and trees taller than 4 m. Stems are reddish.

Leaf size changes with different habits but the shape is always the same. Leaves are furry and discolourous (having the two surfaces different in colour). Leaves occur in groups of three.

Flowers are small, white, often insignificant, densely clustered, highly attractive to bees, from spring to summer.

Fruit are numerous, in conspicuous clusters of small berries, orange to red, autumn into winter.

Note: The weediest Cotoneaster in the Blue Mountains is Cotoneaster franchetii. Other seriously weedy species are C. pannosus, C. lacteus, C. glaucophyllus and C. horizontalis.

Don’t confuse with…

Some Cotoneasters can be confused with the native Pomaderris when not in flower, as the leaves are similar.


Seeds are spread into bush land by fruit-eating birds.

Impact on bushland

Cotoneaster will grow virtually anywhere a bird drops the seeds. Thickets under tall trees and other perching places displace local native plant species and shade the soil. Habitat is lost, and other weeds invade.



Alternative planting

Native plants

Bird attracting natives, screening shrubs and small trees such as:

  • Banksia (Banksia ericifolia, B. serrata, or ‘Giant Candles’)
  • Lilypillies (Acmena smithii)
  • Grevillea spp.
  • Hakea dactyloides
  • Acacia fimbriata
  • Callistemon spp.
  • Leptospermum spp.

Council provides a tool, on its Mountain Landscapes website, to help you choose native alternative plantings. Choose your village, soil, vegetation community and the purpose of your planting, and the tool will give you suggestions.

There are native nurseries in several Blue Mountains villages, including Glenbrook, Lawson and Katoomba. Please also ask at your favourite local nursery.


Specific control tips for this weed


Because the berries are bird spread, treat plants before they fruit. Bag and dispose of berries, or place in a hot compost to kill the seeds. Other cut parts of the plant can be spread out to dry off the ground. Once material is dead it will decompose in place, or can be composted.

For key points on these techniques:

Local Priority Weed

Control measures:

  • The plant should be fully and continuously suppressed and destroyed.
  • Plants under 4 metres in height should be fully and continuously suppressed and destroyed.
  • The spread of this plant should be adequately contained to prevent spread impacting on priority assets. Weed notices will only be issued for these weeds under special circumstances.

For more info

For key points on these techniques: