June 2022 - Hawthorn

Common Name:  Hawthorn, Common Hawthorn, Green Hawthorn  

Botanical Name: Crataegus virids

Native Range:  Zone 3-9. Throughout the United States 

Height: 25’-30’ 

Spread: 20’-30’ 

Form:  Vase shape to ovate

Growth Rate:  Slow to medium growth rate.

Sun:  Prefers full sun but can tolerate shade

Soil: Prefers well-drained, moist soil 

Leaf Description:  Simple, doubly serrated, alternately arranged

Fall Color:  Purple to scarlet fall foliage

Flower Description:  White flowers in mid-spring with intense foliage

Fruit:  Red fruit is often called the haw or mayhaw. Similar in appearance to the crabapple. The fruit persists through winter making great winter interest

Bark Description:  Gray to orange with shallow fissures darkening to brownish orange as the tree matures

Wildlife Benefit:  Serves as food source and shelter for many species of wildlife. The flowers are a source of food for insects including many species of butterflies. Thrushes rely on the haws for food in the winter. The haws are considered edible and are often used in salads and beverages.   

Tolerates:  Tolerates a wide variety of soils, cold hardy but can also tolerate heat and drought once established

Possible Insects:  No serious insect problems.  Occasional tent caterpillar 

Possible Disease:   Fire blight, leaf blight, rust, and powdery mildew. Crataegus viridis ‘Winter King’ the Winter King Hawthorn is less susceptible to rust disease. 

Uses:  Used as a specimen tree for residential and commercial landscapes. Great tree for winter interest due to the fruit display and ornamental bark.  Tolerant to urban conditions, however, needs a wide planting strip if used as a street tree

Where to be found on municipal property:  A mature Winter King Hawthorn can be found in Marquand Park adjacent to the weeping hemlock. There is also a small grove planted on Mount Lucas Island adjacent to the rain garden.

Additional Facts: 

  • In some countries, the Hawthorn is considered a sign of hope.
  • Uses aside from the landscape include medicinal and decorative possibilities 
  • Hawthorn is often used as a hedge plant in Europe
  • Hawthorn is a subject of European folklore, particularly in Britain
  • Hawthorn has 1” thorns along the stem




Dirr, M.A. 2009. Manual of Woody Landscape Plants.6th ed. Stipes Pub. Champaign, Il.



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