Evergreen shrubs from South America, Asia, and New Zealand. They are closely related to the Hawthorn (Crataegus) and belong to the Rose family, Rosaceae. They have slender branches clothed w'ith small, pinnate leaves, and bear small, terminal clusters of white flowers in summer; these are followed by bluish-black, hawthorn-like fruits. The name Osteomeles is derived from osteon, bone, and meles, apple, and refers to the berries.
For Mild Climates. These shrubs can only be generally cultivated out of doors in mild districts, although in sheltered locations O. anthyllidifolia will live outdoors in New Jersey. They prefer a soil of sandy loam; very light or clayey soils are unsuitable.
Planting is done in spring, the soil being afterwards well soaked with water if it is very dry.
Sowing Seeds. Propagation is by seeds or cuttings. Seeds are sown in autumn. Deep seed pans or pots are used; these are well drained and filled with a compost of sandy loam. The seeds are sown 1 in. apart and 1/2 in. deep, and the pots placed in a cold frame. The seeds are slow in germinating, but, as soon as the seedlings are large enough, they are potted separately in 3-in. pots and subsequently in 5-in. pots, from which they are planted in their permanent quarters. They should be kept in a cold frame until they are large enough to plant out.
Taking Cuttings. Cuttings are made, in August, of well-ripened shoots of the current year’s growth. The leaves from the lower half of the cuttings are removed and a cut is made below the bottom node (joint). The cuttings are then inserted in a cold frame which is kept close, or in a greenhouse propagating bench. After they have rooted, they are potted and treated as advised for seedlings.
In very cold climates these shrubs may be grown in a greenhouse. They need a minimum winter temperature of 45 degrees, and the best compost consists of two parts of loam and one part of sand. Repotting is done in March, when the plants are removed from the pots and set in slightly larger ones.
The chief kinds are O. Schweriniae, 10 ft.; O. Schweriniae microphylla, 5 ft.; and O. subrotunda, a dwarf, slow-growing species of somewhat contorted growth.