A large shrub which will in time reach 40ft (12m).
It has a frequent change in colour throught the season - from young coppery foliage in April to white flowers in May, followed by red fruit which turn black in June as they ripen. The leaves turn from green to yellow in the autumn.
It will grow on light acid soil and is reasonalby hardy.
This species can be used as a dwarfing rootstock for Malus spp. (the apples) and Pyrus spp. (the pears). Plants can be grown as an informal hedge. Any trimming is best done after flowering.
A fairly wind-tolerant species, it can be used to give protection from the wind as part of a mixed shelterbelt.
Wood - hard, strong, close grained. Used for tool handles, small implements etc.
Prefers a rich loamy soil in a sunny position or semi-shade but thrives in any soil that is not water-logged, too dry or poor, though it is more wet-tolerant than other members of this genus. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Prefers an acid soil. Trees produce more and better quality fruits better when growing in a sunny position.
Should be given 4 weeks warm stratification before being left out in the winter and it should then germinate in the spring. Otherwise seed can be very slow to germinate, perhaps taking 18 months or more. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a sheltered outdoor position, planting them out once they are 20cm or more tall.
Edible fruit - raw or cooked. The fruit contains a few small seeds at the centre, it has a sweet flavour with a hint of apple. It can be eaten out of hand, used in pies, preserves etc or dried and used like raisins. We have found the fruit to be of variable quality, with some forms having a distinct bitterness in the flavour whilst others are sweet, juicy and delicious. When the fruit is thoroughly cooked in puddings or pies the seed imparts an almond flavour to the food. The fruit is rich in iron and copper. It is about 10mm in diameter. Trees can yield 7 to 15 tonnes per hectare.