any of several evergreen, thorny Asian shrubs belonging to the genus Pyracantha, of the rose family, many species of which are cultivated for their foliage and ornamental fruits.

1905–10, Americanism Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
firethorn (ˈfaɪəˌθɔːn)
any rosaceous evergreen spiny shrub of the genus Pyracantha, of SE Europe and Asia, having bright red or orange fruits: cultivated for ornament

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Encyclopedia Britannica


(Pyracantha), any of a genus of usually thorny evergreen shrubs, in the rose family (Rosaceae), native to southeastern Europe and Asia. Firethorns are planted as ornamentals for their showy, berrylike fruits; they are also used as hedges and are often espaliered (trained to grow flat against walls and fences). They have small oval leaves on short leafstalks and clusters of small white flowers followed by orange to reddish fruits that cling to the stems well into winter.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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