Cotoneaster granatesis (Cotoneaster granatesis)
It is a deciduous bush (from 1 to 3 m high) lacking thorns. The young branches are of a white colour. The leaves are alternating, simple, full, joined to the stem with a short petiole, and a generally oval limb. The beam has no fur whereas the underside is whitish and is densely covered with hairs. The flowers are grouped in inflorescences on the tip of the side branches, with a few flowers and on short supports covered with furs. They are white, with five petals and sepals, with the yarns protruding from the flower, very similar to those of the cherry tree. The fruit (6 to 10 mm) is a kind of knob (like a small apple), rounded or with a pear shape, dark red, with two little pits (5 mm) called pyrenees.
WHERE DOES IT LIVE?
This species develops in scrubs forming forest edgings of deciduous trees, pines and holm oaks, commonly in ravines and shady areas position North. It is also present in cracks, rocky escarpments and stony slopes, preferentially on calcareous substrates and between 1200 and 2100 meters above sea level. It can easily bear frosts and low temperatures, as well as temperature variations between night and day. It is an endemic species of the Betic mountains.
HOW DOES IT LIVE?
It is a monoecious species with hermaphrodite flowers (both sexes on a single flower and on a single specimen) grouped in inflorescences. Each inflorescence has about 2 to 10 flowers with five petals of an ivory-white colour and multiples of yarns. The fruit is a small rounded apple, of a dark red to violet colour when ripe, containing two seeds, some of which may be infertile. They are reddish brown coloured, very tough and smooth. The pollination is entomophil (aided by insects) and, although it is a bush able to pollinate itself, the fruit and seed production is greater when it is pollinated thanks to other specimens. The fruit dispersion is fundamentally zoochorian, that means that it is made by animals, generally birds.
WHERE CAN WE SEE IT IN THE MALAGA PROVINCE?
It is a very localized species in the province of Málaga. It is present in the Sierra de las Nieves and in Sierra Tejeda. In the Great Path (Gran Senda), we can observe it on stages 6 to 23.
This species conservation must be a priority, as if they are degraded they do not regenerate: they are replaced by evergreen plants, like the holm oak. Cattle usually impedes the natural regeneration of the Cotonestear granatesis, as it systematically consumes all young specimens in the areas where it is present. It has been used as a ground and slope colonising and stabilising species, as well as an ornamental plant. Its fruits and branches represent one of the favourite foods of the mountain goat.
It can easily be mistaken with the snowy mespilus. In Malaga, this species is only present in Sierra Tejeda and its fruit can have up to ten seeds (the cotoneaster granatesis has only two). Moreover, the leaves of the snowy mespilus have a slightly serrated edge whereas those of the cotoneaster granatesis have a full one.