The cotoneasters belong to the large and varied rose family (Rosaceae) of about 300 genera distributed throughout the northern hemisphere. The cotoneasters include deciduous and partially or fully evergreen species, the lowest being ground creepers which stay less than 30 cm and root from their branches, the tallest more erect, raising their crowns to about 15 metres. The only species native to Finland is Scandinavian cotoneaster (C. scandinavicus).
Shiny cotoneaster is native to central Asia and is the most commonly grown of the genus in Finnish gardens. In the 1960 and 1970s it ranked second among hedging and garden shrubs. The shrubs are densely branched so it makes an excellent cut hedge. When grafted onto native rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) or hawthorn stock it makes an attractive small tree.
At Mustila it thrives almost anywhere; the shrubs on Etelärinne (Southern Slope) and in Alppiruusulaakso (Rhododendron Valley) have beautifully curving branches and in autumn are covered in brilliant shiny red leaves. They also have attractive oval shiny black berries, which are not edible; despite suggestions that they may be poisonous there have been no confirmed cases.