Pyracantha AT OCT2016/04 : 15 posts by 3 authors. Attachments (5)
Pyracantha  ‘Orange Glow’ or
Pyracantha  ‘Orange Charmer’ or
Pyracantha crenulata ‘Orange Glow’ or
Pyracantha angustifolia (native to Southwest China)

Anyway wonderful images.

Wild or cultivated???
Not known

Was growing in fields near a small village temple

Pyracantha species in eFloraofindia (with details/ keys from published papers/ regional floras/ FRLHT/ FOI/ Biotik/ efloras/ books etc., where ever available on net)

Pyracantha page is not displaying any image.

Yes, …  Images are yet to be inserted. You can check the threads in species pages.

it should be Pyracantha crenulata (Roxb. ex D.Don) M.Roem. which was brought by the British as an ornamental and later escaped into the wild.

Sorry, the information about P.crenulata being brought in by the British and naturalising is not correct.  Pyracantha crenulata is a wild species native to the Himalaya from Kashmir to SW China and Myanamar @ 1000-2400m in shrubberies, open slopes & cultivated areas.  Its fruits are typically orange-red though dark red forms occur.
It was not introduced by the British or became naturalised. There may have been isolated introductions of cultivars of Pyracantha during the British time or indeed since which might explain the specimen photographed at Narkanda, IF it is an escape from cultivation or is being cultivated?  I do not know much about the ancestry of the various Pyracantha cultivars, whether selections or hybrids.  Pyracantha ‘Orange Glow’ apparently arose as a chance seedling found in a garden in Holland around 1930. So it does not seem feasible that it could have got into wider cultivation and thus have been brought to India before Independence, IF this is thought to be this?  Pyracantha crenulata is not often cultivated in the UK.
Collet in ‘Flora Simlensis’ did record this plant but he knew it as Crataegus crenulata which he stated was found from the Sutlej to Bhutan but failed to indicate where it grew in or around Simla (as he normally did for most plants). As it is rather a prominent shrub, then not easily missed.  He said the species was closely allied to one which was often trained against walls in Britain with bright red fruits. There is no native Pyracantha in the UK. The commonest species which naturalises there is P.coccinea a native of NE Spain to N.Iran.  There seem to be about 7 species, 4 from China.  Some think P.crenulata and P.coccinea may constitute the same species.
In Bhutan P.crenulata grows at streamsides, the fruits red. 
I am not familiar with all the various cultivars and cannot distinguish readily between the species, so am uncertain what the plant photographed actually is.
Stewart understood P.crenulata to be cultivated in Abbottabad and Rao recorded it from one place in Kashmir (hence, I suspect the distribution given).  He felt that IF that was a wild specimen, it would represent a Westerly extension of its range.

sorry i may be wrong… however i travel extensively in the north temperate forests and this species is confined mainly near habitations (Shimla town, Kufri, Mashobra, Dalhousie, Narkanda, etc) and i have not come across any in the wild.

It is entirely possible that a cultivated variety of Pyracantha has been introduced into India (the British introduced various ‘cottage garden’ plants just as the Moghuls seem to have introduced quite a lot of plants into Kashmir, centuries ago) whether during the British days or post Independence and this could have naturalised near to habitation – as has occasionally been the case in the UK.  But if that had happened in the Shimla area during the British days it is likely that Collet would have known about it.
Given how spiny the plant is, it can make a good barrier, so its growth may be encouraged near habitation. Hippophae rhamnoides (as members of this group will know, its berries produce ‘Leh Juice’) subsp. turkestanica is common in ‘wild’ locations in the drier, inner valleys on islands in rivers and in mixed thickets by streams and rivers; it is also common in Ladakh about villages and much used for fencing.
Perhaps a member of this group is aware of such an introduction into cultivation (Floriculture or Forestry Departments perhaps) post Independence but it would then need to have been grown in gardens before it was naturalised?   Part of the problem is that it is not straight forward to tell the ancestry of cultivated plants or if, other than colour of fruits, how to distinguish between any of these and wild Pyracantha crenulata.
Stewart was a keen and active field botanist. He did not come across P.crenulata in the wild in N.Pakistan or Kashmir, so the wild P.crenulata may not be widespread or common in Himachal Pradesh.  
I have just checked ‘Flora of Kathmandu Valley’ where it is recorded (with red fruits) in dry places between 1350-1800m ‘Flowers of the Himalaya’ says the wood is used for walking sticks (though not specifically where) which suggests it must be common in some places and if a plant has a use, growing it (with the bonus of its use as a fence) near to habitation would make sense or certainly encouraging it to grow at the very least.
Presumably you are not in a position to judge if the Pyracantha you have observed near habitation is different to typical wild P.crenulata?  This could only be discovered by close examination and record keeping.
Anyhow, I am pleased to hear that you travel extensively in North Temperate Forests (by this, you presumably mean in H.P.?). It is great to have people observing and being able to recognise plants in the wild, which needs encouraging. 
Just consulted Osmaston’s ‘Forest Flora for Kumaon’. He, like, Collet, knew the plant as Crataegus crenulata. He found it in the hills from 2-7,000′. Common on waste land also in Chir & Banj forest especially on banks of streams, in such localities it was somewhat gregarious,
sometimes forming dense thickets.  Interesting that ‘Flora of Bhutan’ mentions streamsides as its main habitat.  Presumably, assuming it remains as abundant in what was Kumaon nowadays, one would imagine it was never as common in H.P.
Apparently Pyracantha crenulata was growing at the Godawari Botanic Garden near Kathmandu some decades ago (do not know if it still is) in some quantity. The form there had small orange-red berries which in ornamental terms did not compare with the popular Firethorn cultivars grown in the UK. 

Thank you for the detailed discussions. I had also posted it on Plant Wealth of India as P. crenulata before posting on efi.
I have posted it on efi for discussion as deep orange colour of its fruit  was unique. When I checked for orange colour on the net, some cultivars appeared.
I have seen thousands of different specimens of P. crenulata, but all had dark red fruits. It occurs frequently in this part of Himalaya as a wild.
Specimen in this post was photographed near a small village temple. Only 3-4 plants were there. They might have been cultivated???

My posts with red fruits can also be seen on efi.