Plant of the Week: Mohave Firethorn

The High Line's planting design is inspired by the self-seeded landscape that grew up between rail tracks after the trains stopped running in the 1980s. Today, the High Line includes more than 300 species of perennials, grasses, shrubs, and trees – each chosen for their hardiness, adaptability, diversity, and seasonal variation in color and texture. Some of the species that originally grew on the High Line's rail bed are reflected in the park landscape today. This week we share one of our gardeners' current favorites with you.

Pyracantha 'Mohave', the Mohave firethorn is a hybrid between Pyracantha koidzumii and Pyracantha coccinea 'Wyattii'. Of the two parent species, P. koidzumii is currently threated in its native Taiwan due to habitat loss while P. coccinea is a European native that has been in cultivation since the 1500s.

Since being introduced by the US National Arboretum in 1970, Mohave has become a popular and widely available cultivar in the nursery industry.

There are several attributes of this cultivar that are highly desirable, including: tolerance to common rosaceous diseases like fire blight and scab, dense clusters of brilliant orange fruit, evergreen foliage, and adaptability to a wide range of landscape conditions.

This plant has many landscape applications and is commonly used as a barrier hedge due to its sharp thorns. It can also be trained as an espalier or shaped into topiary. Mohave can grow ten to fifteen feet tall and wide. In USDA zone 6, Mohave is semi evergreen losing most foliage during the winter months. However in zones 7 – 9, the plant will remain evergreen.

Pyracantha belongs to the Rose family (Rosaceae) which also includes: Apples (Malus), Pears (Pyrus), Plums, Cherries and Apricots (Prunus). The ripe fruit can be gathered to make a delicious jam or jelly.

In spring, Mohave is covered in clusters of small white flowers which stand out against its glossy dark green foliage. The best season to enjoy its wonders is in the fall and winter when the showy orange berries are on full display.

Mohave is easily propagated from softwood, semi-hardwood and hardwood cuttings.

The High Line's 10th Avenue Square between West 16th and 17th Street.

Our horticultural team counts on members and friends like you to help keep the High Line beautiful and thriving. Join our community of supporters who play an essential role in the High Line's most important gardening projects.

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