Alternative common names:
Asian firethorn, variegated hawthorn.
The Himalayan firethorn is an evergreen shrub or small tree. It has spiny branches bearing simple leaves and clusters of small white flowers followed by showy red, orange or yellow berries. The leaves are hairless, have dark green upper surfaces and are glossy in appearance.
Where does this species come from?Western China.
What is its invasive status in South Africa?NEMBA Category 1b.
Where in South Africa is it a problem?Mpumalanga, Gauteng, Northern Cape, Limpopo, Free State and Eastern Cape.
How does it spread?Seeds are dispersed via birds, water, gravity, soil movement and dumped vegetation.
Why is it a problem?
The seeds are poisonous if ingested and may result in vomiting.
What does it look like?
Leaves: It has glossy green leaves up to 5cm long and 8mm wide.
Flowers: Flowers are white with five petals and numerous stamens,
8-12mm across, occurring in clusters of 30 flowers along short stems.
Fruit/seeds: Fruit is red, orange or yellow and occur along the stems where the flowers were. Berries look like tiny apples, 5-9mm in diameter, and contain seeds. The seeds are brown and irregular in shape, about 2.5mm across.
Does the plant have any uses?
Basis hedge and flowering shrub.