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Crataegus phaenopyrum

Common Name(s):
Washington Hawthorn
Winter King
Edible Plants, Native Plants, Perennials, Trees

Crataegus phaenopyrum, commonly called Washington hawthorn, is noted for its attractive flowers and foliage, bright red fruits and fall color. It is a small, low-branching, deciduous tree that typically grows 25-30’ tall with a rounded crown.

The fruit of the Washington hawthorn is sometimes called a haw. The word haw also means hedge, the hawthorn thus being a thorny hedge. Washington hawthorn is native from Virginia to Missouri, Arkansas, and Alabama.

Washington hawthorn reportedly was first grown commercially near Washington, D.C. in the late 1700s, hence the common name.

This plant has spike-like thorns (1-3"), is strong, and has horizontal branches.  It bark is gray. orange, scarlet, to purple fall foliage.  It is the last hawthorn to flower and is also the most heat tolerant hawthorn.

Regions:  Mountain, Piedmont, Coastal plains

Seasons of Interest: 

  Leaf:   Fall                  Blooms:  Summer            Nut/Fruit/Seed:  Fall

Wildlife Value:  This plant is highly resistant to damage from deer.  It is a host plant for the Gray Hairstreak, Red-spotted Purple, and Viceroy butterflies.  Hummingbirds and butterflies nectar from the blooms.  Songbirds, quail, wild turkeys and small mammals eat the fruit.

Insects, Diseases, or Other Plant Problems: The Washington hawthorn shows good resistance to cedar-apple rust. Fire blight, fungal leaf spots, powdery mildew, cankers, and apple scab are occasional problems. Insect pests include borers, caterpillars, lace bugs, leafminers, and scale.

25-30 ft.
The Washington Hawthorne has fragrant, 5-petaled, white flowers in clusters (corymbs) that bloom in late spring. The flowers are followed in fall by bright red 1/4” diameter globose fruits (pomes) that persist throughout the winter.
The Washington Hawthorne is best grown in moist but well-drained soils in full sun. It will tolerate light shade.
Medium to fine
Dense; compact; upright, rounded crown
Sun to partial shade; moist site
White flowers in mid spring; bright red fruit that persists into the winter
20-25 ft.
Growth Rate:
Rapid when young
The thorny stems of the Washington Hawthorne are clad with shallowly lobed, serrate, glossy dark green leaves (to 2 1/2” long). The leaves turn attractive shades of orange and red in fall.
heat tolerant, deciduous, fall color, native, play, playground, fragrant, wildlife, thorns, children’s garden, showy

NCCES plant id: 473

Crataegus phaenopyrum Crataegus phaenopyrum
F. D. Richards, CC-BY-SA-2.0
Crataegus phaenopyrum berries Crataegus phaenopyrum berries
Taryn Domingos, CC BY-NC-ND - 2.0
Crataegus phaenopyrum flowers Crataegus phaenopyrum flowers
F. D. Richards, CC-BY-SA-2.0
Crataegus phaenopyrum Crataegus phaenopyrum
F. D. Richards, CC-BY-SA-2.0