Edwards's Bot. Reg. 15: plate 1229. 1829.
Shrubs or trees, 5–15 m. Stems loosely erect, spreading; branches spiraled, dark-brown, initially downy. Leaves deciduous; petiole 5–8 mm, densely villose to tomentose; blade narrowly elliptic (to lance-elliptic or narrowly obovate), 55–150 × 19–55 mm, membranous, base cuneate, margins flat, veins 6–10, superficial or slightly sunken, apex acute, abaxial surfaces color not recorded, villous at least near midvein, adaxial green, dull, coating not recorded, flat between lateral-veins, glabrous except villous midrib. Inflorescences on fertile shoots 60–80 mm with 2–4 leaves, 20–60-flowered, lax. Pedicels length not recorded, densely tomentose. Flowers 6–7 mm diam.; buds white; hypanthium cupulate [subcylindric], tomentose; sepals: margins tomentose, apex acute, surfaces densely villous; petals spreading, white, glabrous or with hair-tuft; stamens 20, filaments white, anthers purple; styles 2. Pomes bright red, subglobose to ellipsoid, 4–6 × 4–5 mm, shiny, not glaucous, sparsely villous; sepals erect or ascending, margins tomentose, densely villous; navel hidden; style remnants near apex. Pyrenes 2.2n = 34 (India).
Phenology: Flowering May–Jun; fruiting Sep–Oct.
Habitat: North-facing canyon slopes
Elevation: 0–500 m
Introduced; Calif., Asia (Himalaya Mountains), also in Europe
Reports of Cotoneaster frigidus from Washington (F. C. Weinmann 2000; A. L. Jacobson 2001; J. T. Kartesz 2006) are here referred to C. gamblei, plants having larger fruits tending to be obovoid, less densely pubescent inflorescences, and with thicker, more persistent leaves.