Pyracantha coccinea

Mediterranean Firethorn

The Mediterranean Firethorn ( Pyracantha coccinea ) is also called European Firethorn and is native to southern Europe, Asia Minor and the Caucasus. In the 17th century it was introduced to Central Europe, but also was ever present in this area during the Tertiary.


The Mediterranean Pyracantha is an evergreen, very densely branched deciduous shrub with sparrig protruding and spreading branches and vigorous sprout thorns. He is 2-3 (up to 5) m high, its young shoots are hairy gray. The leaves are elliptical to wrong - lanceolate, 2-4 cm long, more or less pointed wedge base. The leaves are also cut close crenate, lower side glabrous or slightly pubescent at first. The petiole is 2-5 mm long and hairy.

The inflorescence is hairy. The fruit is usually 5 to 7 mm thick, bright red to yellow and will stick long on the bush.


The Mediterranean Firethorn is planted as an ornamental shrub. He rarely run wild and unstable (eg on road embankments ). He is very unassuming, more suitable for dry and heavy soils, hardy and industrial areas and preferably light situations.


The white flowers are " nectar leading disk flowers ", they are in upright, dense corymbs of very rich flowering and fruiting shrub. The walls of the five carpels harden when ripe and are rocky. The flowering period extends from May to June.

The fruits are pea-sized apple fruits that are colored by carotenoids lively red, with certain cultivars but also yellow.

It is spread before digestion: The fruits are readily eaten by for example, in the late winter of blackbirds, the seeds of green finches. Fruit ripening occurs ( Winter Stayers ) in September.

Vegetative propagation is by root sprouts.

Ingredients, toxicity

The seeds are slightly toxic by releasing cyanide glycosides. The pulp and other plant parts are free of cyanogenic glycosides.

In the leaves can be found, inter alia, rutin and chlorogenic acid.


The Mediterranean Firethorn is a decorative ornamental shrub of gardens and grounds. Because of the cut resistance, it is very suitable for rear plantations and as a wall trellis. It is also suitable for facade greening.