An evergreen shrub with arching branches growing to 5 ft high, sometimes procumbent or prostrate; stems hairy at first, later glabrous. Leaves arranged spirally on the stem, oval or obovate to roundish, 1⁄2 to 4⁄5 in. long, dark green and usually glabrous above, sparingly hairy beneath, sometimes rounded at the apex, sometimes with a short, abrupt point; stalk 1⁄4 in. or less long. Flowers white, produced in clusters, usually two or three together, more rarely singly. Fruit red, rounded, 1⁄4 in. or a little more in diameter, with two nutlets.
Native of the Himalaya from Kashmir eastwards; and of S.W. China; introduced, according to Loudon, in 1825. It is allied to C. microphyllus but differs in its larger, broadly ovate to roundish leaves and usually two- to three-flowered inflorescence, and makes a larger, more robust plant.
var. lanatus (Jacques) C. rotundifolius var. lanatus (Jacques) Schneid.; C. lanatus Jacques; C. buxifolius Baker, not Lindl.; C wheeleri Hort. – In this variety the leaves are broad elliptic, densely hairy beneath; the cymes bear three to five flowers (up to eight on vigorous plants). In the form cultivated it is a very vigorous cotoneaster and one of the most useful, being pretty in habit, flower and fruit. It will grow to 10 ft high, forming a dense, impenetrable tangle of stems, from the main body of which stand out in every direction long, whip-like branches which give a very graceful and distinct effect. It is only necessary to tie the leading shoots to the fence until it is covered, and then leave the shrub to grow its own way; in this way it makes an admirable screen. This shrub used to be grown in gardens as “C. buxifolius” or “C. wheeleri”, though some of the plants so named may be typical C. prostratus. The true C. buxifolius is quite a different species (q.v.).