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© Julien Piqueray, FUSAGx
© Julien Piqueray, FUSAGx
© Etienne Branquart
© Julien Piqueray, FUSAGx
© Julien Piqueray, FUSAGx
Cotoneaster horizontalis - Rockspray

French name:  Cotonéaster horizontal
Dutch name: Vlakke dwergmispel
Family: Malaceae
Group: Vascular plants
Origin: Asia
Habitat: terrestrial
Introduction:  agri- and horticulture
ISEIA Score : 11
Naturalization in Belgium
First observation in the wild: 1982
Invasion stage: spread
Spatial distribution: restricted
Reproduction in the wild: yes
Dispersion potential: high
Natural habitats: high
More on invasiveness: Cotoneaster horizontalis thrives in man-made habitats like walls, railway embankments or sand quarries. It has been also recently reported to form large spontaneous and self-sustaining populations in dunes, rock outcrops, and a wide range of calcicolous grassland communities in Austria, Belgium, Germany, Great Britain and Switzerland. Root systems are highly pervasive, often penetrating deeply in crevices in the bedrock. The plant is easily dispersed by birds and is in strong expansion in Belgium.
Distribution in Belgium
Established populations
absent from district
isolated populations (1-5 localities per district)
widespread (>5 localities per district)
Endangered areas
low risk
medium risk
high risk

Endangered Natura 2000 habitats ():
dune habitats: 2130*
sclerophyllous scrub: 51105130
grasslands: 6110*6210*6230*
rocky habitats: 8160*8210
Impacts on Species
Predation / Herbivory: low
Competition: high
Disease transmission: low
Genetic effects: unknown
Impacts on Ecosystems
Nutrient cycling: unknown
Physical alteration: likely
Natural successions: likely
Food web alteration: low
More on impacts: Once established, expansion of local colonies of C. horizontalis may result in the modification of grassland microclimate and the extensive smothering of native light demanding plant communities, greatly altering their structure and composition, reducing species richness and displacing some red-listed species. Competition with the rare native C. integerrimus is likely. In Europe, other Cotoneaster species such as C. dammeri, C. divaricatus, C. dielsianus, C. integrifolius and C. simonsii have been reported to be established in and overgrow species-rich dry grasslands.
Data Source & References
Authors: Branquart Etienne, Vanderhoeven Sonia, Van Landuyt Wouter, Van Rossum Fabienne, Verloove Filip
Published on:  04 December 2007
Last update:  17 December 2010
AEF (2006)
Cartes provisoires de la distribution de néophytes en Wallonie.
Unpublished document.
CBNFC (2008)
Espèces invasives de Franche-Comté: les cotoneasters asiatiques (Cotoneaster horizontalis & Cotoneaster damneri).
Conservatoire botanique national de Franche-Comté- maison de l’envionnement de Franche-Comté
Crofts, A. & Jefferson, R.G. (1999)
Lowland Grassland Management Handbook.
The Wildlife Trusts, English Nature, and the Countryside Council for Wales and Scottish Natural Heritage, UK.
Day, J., Nigel, S. & Robertson, P. (2003)
The scrub management handbook: guidance on the management of scrub on nature conservation sites.
Forum on the application of conservation techniques, English Nature & RSPB.
Dickoré, W.B. & Kasperek, G. (2010)
Species of Cotoneaster (Rosaceae, Maloideae) indigenous to, naturalising or commonly cultivated in Central Europe.
Willdenowia 40(2): 13-45.
Halford, M. & Delbart, E. (2010)
Fiche descriptive de Cotoneaster horizontalis Decaisne.
Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech, Laboratoire d’Ecologie, Cellule d’appui à la gestion des plantes invasives.
Lambinon, J., Delvosalle, L. & Duvigneaud, J. (2004)
Nouvelle fore de la Belgique, du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg, du Nord de la France et des régions voisines.
Editions du Patrimoine du Jardin botanique national de Belgique, Meise.
Lohmeyer, W. & Sukopp, H. (2001)
Agriophyten in der Vegetation Mitteleuropas.
In: Brandes, D. (ed.) Adventivpflanzen. Beiträge zur Biologie, Vorkommen und Ausbreitungsdynamik von Archäophyten und Neophyten in Mitteleuropa, vol 8. Universitätsbibliothek Braunschweig, Braunschweig, pp 179-220.
Massoz A. (2009)
Etude de la capacité de germination de Cotoneaster horizontalis, espèce exotique naturalisée, et de ses impacts sur les pollinisateurs de la flore native des pelouses calcaires.
Travail de fin d’étude, FUSAGx, Gembloux: 68 pp.
Piqueray, J., Vanderhoeven, S. & Mahy, G. (2008)
Naturalization and impact of a horticultural species, Cotoneaster horizontalis (Rosaceae) in biodiversity hotspots in Belgium.
Belgian Journal of Botany 141(2): 113-124.
Van Landuyt, W., Hoste, I., Vanhecke, L., Van den Bremt, P. Vercruysse, W. & De Beer, D. (2006)
Atlas van de Flora van Vlaanderen en het Brussels gewest.
Nationale Plantentuin en het Instituut voor Natuur- en Bosonderzoek i.s.m. Flo.Wer vzw.
Verloove, F. (2006)
Catalogue of the Neophytes in Belgium (1800-2005).
Scripta Botanica Belgica 39, 89 pp.
Weber, E. (2003)
Invasive plant species of the world: a reference guide to environmental weeds.
CABI Publishing, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 548 pp.
Other Internet Links

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