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I would like to know the species and, if possible, the exact cultivar, of this smallish tree:

(Hints: the pictures are taken today, northern hemisphere, temperate climate, and a woman living nearby says birds eat all the berries during winter)

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It looks like a very mature Pyracantha, but you can check by looking for its sharp thorns - these arise off the wood on the smaller branches, and I can't actually see any in any of the pictures. There are several varieties with orange berries: Orange Glow, Saphyr Orange, and a host of others, as well as red berried and a couple of yellow berried varieties. They produce white flowers in spring, usually around May, and this plant is often used for hedging; common name is Firethorn. Image of P. 'Orange Glow' here https://www.best4hedging.co.uk/pyracantha-orange-glow-hedge-plants-pp36.

As a point of interest, there's one called Pyracantha Mohave - it has redder berries than these, but the birds don't like the berries on that particular cultivar, although they're fond of all the other pyracantha varieties.

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  • Thanks, I will try to spot thorns, and post additional pics. The trunk has formidable diameter (perhaps 15 cm). – VividD Oct 25 '17 at 12:46
  • Those berries taste very bitter; I don't know why birds like them. – oet8uhetow Oct 25 '17 at 15:37
  • I would agree and add , a very impressive cultivar. Pyracanthas that I have had certainly deserved the name "firethorn". You don't need to look for thorns on a regular pyracahtha they find you . I removed a few bushes as they were dangerous just near a patio. – blacksmith37 Oct 25 '17 at 16:01
  • Also, worth noting are some of the species and cultivars of Pyracantha are smaller shrubs, this is an upright shrub/tree version. Just in case someone wanted to buy a version this distinction is something to look out for when shopping. The tree pictured has some stress fractures in the trunk; you might have an arborist to take a look at it. The tree could probably use a trim. – CloneZero Oct 25 '17 at 18:05
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    @oet8uhetow Birds have a significantly less developed sense of taste than humans. Parrots for example have around 300 to 400 taste buds, whereas humans have around 9000. While birds CAN taste bitter, it doesn't have a strong effect on their preference for a given food, and in fact, many birds simply learn what flavors constitute the best sources of food and end up preferring bitterness. Additionally, some bird seeds that my family used in our feeders growing up would include an embittering agent to keep the squirrels out of it, because the birds don't much care. – Nathan Young Oct 25 '17 at 18:24
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It looks like Winterberry / Ilex verticillata.

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