Cotoneaster horizontalis | Wall Cotoneaster | Cainchín balla



Conservation status

Not Assessed

First reported in the wild



Invasive species - risk of Medium Impact

Irish status


Introduction pathways - 1

Escape from Confinement

Introduction pathways subclass - 1

Ornamental purpose

Invasive score


NAPRA Ireland risk assessed


Species Biology


Deciduous, low growing shrubs, typically with characteristic bright orange-red fruit and pink flowers (Booy et al.,2015). A number of Cotoneaster spp are present in Ireland and are difficult to distinguish without looking at leaves, fruit and flowers, though C. horizontalis is one of the only species in which the underside of the leaf is relatively hairless(Booy et al.,2015).


When occurring on grassland habitats Cotoneaster horizontalis decreases species richness and diversity, as well as affecting grassland specialist species (Piqueray, 2008). Not much information is available on the impacts of Cotoneaster horizontalis, likely due to the difficulty in distinguishing the various Cotoneaster spp and possibly due to it being under recorded in Ireland.


Constructed, industrial or other artificial habitats; Inland unvegetated or sparsely vegetated habitats


Seeds are highly attractive to and dispersed by blackbirds and other thrushes (Crofts & Jefferson, 1999).

Pathway and vector description

Popular as a hedging plant it has been present in Ireland since the 1960s but recent increase in distribution and abundance may be due to recording effort (Reynolds, 2002). Spread within Ireland is likely to be human mediated (i.e. deliberate movement of the plant to areas) and through birds transporting seeds.

Mechanism of impact


Broad environment


Habitat description

Typically found in urban environments due to their use as a hedging plant, potential to spread widely in limestone regions like the Burren (Booy et al.,2015). Also occurs in calcareous grasslands (Crofts &Jefferson, 1999).

Species group


Native region

Temperate Asia


World distribution(GBIF)

Irish distribution

Established - Widespread, "fairly common garden escape" (Reynolds, 2002), possibly under recorded. Distribution indicated likely an artefact of recording effort.

Native distribution

Native to China (Preston et al., 2002).

Temporal change

Date of first record category


Fifty year date category


Records submitted to Data Centre in 2021

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How can you help

Report any sightings to the National Biodiversity Data Centre.



Reynolds, S.C.P. (2002) A catalogue of alien plants in Ireland. National Botanic Gardens. Glasnevin, Dublin. Stace, C. (1997). New Flora of the British Isles 2nd Edition. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. Booy, O., Wade, M. & Roy, H. (2015) A Field Guide to Invasive Plants & Animals in Britain. Bloomsbury. Crofts, A. & Jefferson, R.G. (1999). The lowland grassland management handbook. Peterborough: English Nature. Preston, C.D., Pearman, D. A. & Dines, T. D. 2002. New atlas of the British and Irish flora. An atlas of the vascular plants of Britain, Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands, Oxford University Press