Quick Recognition: Smooth shiny sharp thorns; showy 5-petaled flowers in flat-topped clusters; broad rounded terminal buds; small apple-like fruits, often persisting
Habitat: Occuring on abandoned farmland, along
streams, and in forest openings, especially on soils high in calcium. Moderately shade tolerant. Often forming thickets of several different species [kinds of hawthorn = the different names, such as Black hawthorn].
Size and Form: Shrubs to small trees up to 12m (39ft) high and 30 cm (1 ft) in diameter. Often with
a distinct, crooked trunk; sometimes multistemmed and shrubby. Crown low, wide-spreading, somewhat rounded or flat topped.
Specifics on 12 Common Types:
Black hawthorn (Crataegus douglasii)
The only hawthorn that
regularly grows as a tree in British Columbia; up to 11m (36ft) tall. Its range extends through Alberta into Saskatchewan and south to California, with a distinct occurence around Lake Superior. Leaves small, 2 - 8cm (2 - 3in) long,
coarsely double-toothed to shallowly lobed, almost hairless. Thorns short, usually less than 3cm (1in) long. Fruits ovoid [oval-shaped], 8 -10mm (1/3in) across, dark reddish-purple to black.
Cockspur hawthorn (Crataegus crus-galli)
Very small trees up to 10m (33ft) high with wide-spreading, horizontal branches (similar
to those of dotted hawthorn, though not so pale); occurring in southern Quebec and Ontario, and south to Massachusetts, Iowa and Florida. Leaves 3 - 5cm (1
- 2in) long, mostly unlobed, usually with a rounded wide tip, sharply toothed, with secondary veins branching before reaching the margin, hairless, leathery, shiny on the upper surface, more than twice as long as wide. Thorns slender, numerous, 5 - 7cm (2 - 3in) long. Fruits 6 - 10mm (up to 1/3in) across, deep orange-red when ripe.
Columbia hawthorn (Crataegus columbiana)
Shrubs or very small trees to 6 m (19ft) tall, occurring on dry sites in interior British Columbia, on Vancouver Island, and in the Cypress Hills, and south into the United States. Leaves 3 -
7cm (2 - 3in) long, distinctly lobed, with irregular, gland-tipped teeth; hairy on both surfaces. Thorns stout, 4 - 6 cm long, Fruits globular, 8 - 11mm (up to 1/3in) across, dark red.
Dotted hawthorne (Crataegus punctata)
small trees up to 8 m (26ft) tall, usually single-stemmed, with layered, horizontal branches and pale grey twigs conspicuous in winter, occurring in southern Quebec and Ontario, and south to Georgia. Leaves 5 - 7cm (2 - 3in) long,
widest near the top, gradually tapering to the base, toothed to slightly lobed, with many veins ascending obliquely. Thorns slender, 2 - 8cm (1 - 3in) long, straight to slightly curved, sometimes branched. Fruits globular,
conspicuously dotted, 10 - 15 mm (1/3 to 1/2in) across, dull to bright red or sometimes yellow.
Downy hawthorn (Crataegus mollis)
Very small trees up to 10 m (33ft) high, common to the southern parts of eastern Canada and south to Texas. Leaves 4
- 8cm (1.5 - 3in) long, widest below the middle, abruptly tapered to the base, coarsely double-toothed to shallowly lobed, densely hairy. Thorns 2 - 6cm (1 - 2in) long, straight, relatively slender, not numerous. Fruits nearly
round, 10 - 12mm (1/3 to 1/2in) across, scarlet to dull crimson.
hawthorn (Crataegus flabellata)
Shrubs or very small trees up to 5m (16ft) tall, very thorny, occurring from southern Ontario to Nova Scotia, south
to Louisiana and Georgia. Leaves to 5 cm (2in) long, with 7 - 13 sharp lobes, often reflexed; lobes with several small sharp teeth; leaf stalks grooved above, with wings on the sides. Thorns slender, numerous,
slightly curved, 5 - 6cm (2 - 2.5in) long. Fruits 8 - 10mm (up to 1/3in) across, crimson, with thick flesh.
Fireberry hawthorn (Crataegus chrysocarpa)
Shrubs or very small trees up to 6m (19ft) tall, ranging from Newfoundland to the Rocky Mountains, north to the Peace River in Alberta, and south into the United States. Leaves small,
about 4cm (1.5in) long, almost circular, lobed and toothed, almost hairless, glandular on the teeth, leaf stalk glandular and hairy. Thorns about 6cm (2in) long, blackish, slender, straight. Fruits hairy,
globular, 10 - 15mm (1/3 to 1/2in) across, deep red (seldom yellow, despite the species name), fruit stalk hairy.
Fleshy hawthorn (Crataegus
Shrubs, or occasionally multistemmed shrubby trees up to 8m (26ft) high, with conspicuously dark twigs and thorns, occurring from southern Manitoba
to Nova Scotia and south to Main and to Colorado. Leaves 3 - 8cm (1 - 3in) long, shallowly lobed about the middle, with small sharp teeth; leaf stalks grooved abovve, with wings on sides. Thorns stout,
up to 8cm (3in) long, blackish and glossy. Fruits glossy deep red, 6 - 8mm (up to 1/3in) across, usually in erect or drooping clusters.
One-seeded hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna)
Also known as English hawthorn. Very small trees up to 8m (26ft) tall, introduced from Europe; naturalized in Canada; frequently planted as ornamentals. Hardy as far north as Zones CA3, NA4. Leaves 2 - 3cm (1in)
long, 3 - 7 deep lobes; cut nearly to the midvein; lobes narrow, obscurely toothed; veins running to the notches as well as to the lobes. Thorns short, 1 - 2cm (1/2 - 3/4in) long, gray, straight. Flowers rose-colored;
dark red, bright red, pink, or white. Fruits scarlet to deep red, glossy, 6 - 8mm (up to 1/3in) across, with 1 seed.
Pear hawthorn (Crataegus calpodendron)
Many-stemmed shrubs or very small trees, 3 - 4m (11ft) tall, common in southern Ontario. Similar
to fleshy hawthorn. Produces leaves and flowers much later in spring than most other hawthorns. Leaves 5 - 8cm (2 - 3in) long, hairy, dull yellowish-green (occasionally darker green) on the upper surface. Thorns few
or none, 3 - 4cm (1 - 1.5in) long, stout, glossy, deep brown. Fruits very small, 4 - 8 mm (up to 1/3in) across, pear-shaped, shiny orange-red.
Scarlet hawthorn (Crataegus coccinea)
Coarse shrubs or very small variable trees, to 10m (33ft) tall; occurring in southern Ontario and Quebec and south to Maine, Iowa, and North Carolina. Leaves large,
6 - 9cm (2 - 3.5in) long, widest below the middle, sharp-pointed, double-toothed to shallowly lobed. Thorns stout, to 6cm (2in) long, usually curved. Fruits globular, 10 - 14mm (1/3 to 1/2in) across, bright red.
Washington hawthorn (Crataegus phaenopyrum)
Very small trees up to 10m (33ft) high; native to the eastern United States; planted in Canada as ornamentals.
Hardy as far north as Zones CA6, NA5. Leaves 3 - 8cm (1 - 3in) long, somewhat ftriangular, often 3 - 5 lobed, not strongly toothed; notches wide; veins running to notches and lobes; hairless; upper surface dark glossy green; bright
orange to bright red in autumn. Thorns numerous, slender, 3 - 8cm (1 - 3in) long. Flowers small, on hairless stalks. Fruits very small, 4 - 6mm (up to 1/3in) across, shiny orange-red.