Deciduous, often spiny, hard-wooded shrubs or small trees. Leaves simple, alternate, cuneate at base, variously lobed at apex, petiolate; stipules large, leafy, persistent. Inflorescence a corymb often terminating a short, lateral, leafy shoot. Flowers bisexual, white to red. Sepals 5, short, persistent in fruit; petals 5, obovate; stamens 5–25 in 1–3 rows; carpels 1–5, enclosed in and united to inner wall of receptacle, walls stony in fruit, ovules 2 per carpel, 1 infertile. Fruit a globose, fleshy pome, crowned by persistent sepals, red, yellow or nearly black; pyrenes 1–5.
About 200 species, from temperate parts of the Northern Hemisphere; 2 naturalised in Australia.
A complex genus containing many hybrids and variants. Popularly cultivated as hedges or for their ornamental flowers and fruit.