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pyracantha (pĭrˌəkănˈthə) [key] or firethorn, any hardwood evergreen shrub of the genus Pyracantha of the family Rosaceae (rose family). Native from S Europe to W China, pyracanthas are now cultivated elsewhere (often as hedge plants or espaliered on walls) for their red fruits and spiny branches. P. coccinea, also called everlasting thorn, is the most popular; it now grows wild in parts of North America. Pyracantha is classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Rosales, family Rosaceae.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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