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Mayhaw Crataegus aestivalis

Other Common Name(s):

Previously known as:

  • Crataegus luculenta
  • Crataegus maloides
Phonetic Spelling
krah-TEE-gus es-TIV-ah-liss
Description

Mayhaw is a native hawthorn in the rose family and found in shallow ponds, wet woods and seasonal swamps along the coastal plains of the southeastern USA.  It can be grown as a large shrub or trained into a small tree.  It is slow-growing to around 30-40 feet tall with a rounded crown. The showy clusters of white flowers occur in early spring and are followed by edible red fruits that ripen earlier than other hawthorns from June to July. 

Although it naturally grows in wet sites it is adaptable to the drier sites in the home landscape. It prefers full sun but will tolerate partial shade and is adaptable to soil types. Use as a specimen, hedge, screening or a small shade tree. 

Problems, disease, Insects: Susceptible to rust. Mayhaw is the most disease resistant of the hawthorns. Twigs are thorny. 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#bees#hummingbirds#showy flowers#small tree#white flowers#wildlife plant#moths#native shrub#showy fruits#NC native#large shrub#red fruits#edible fruits#late spring flowers#early spring flowers#larval host plant#food source summer#mid-spring flowers#spring fruits#Coastal OBL#food source herbage#food source nectar#food source pollen#wet soils tolerant#nectar plant late spring#mammals#food source soft mast fruit#butterfly friendly#nectar plant mid-spring#butterfly larvae#butterflies#pollinators#pollinator garden#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#birds#non-toxic for cats#audubon#red-spotted purple butterfly#gray hairstreak butterfly#viceroy butterfly
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#bees#hummingbirds#showy flowers#small tree#white flowers#wildlife plant#moths#native shrub#showy fruits#NC native#large shrub#red fruits#edible fruits#late spring flowers#early spring flowers#larval host plant#food source summer#mid-spring flowers#spring fruits#Coastal OBL#food source herbage#food source nectar#food source pollen#wet soils tolerant#nectar plant late spring#mammals#food source soft mast fruit#butterfly friendly#nectar plant mid-spring#butterfly larvae#butterflies#pollinators#pollinator garden#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#birds#non-toxic for cats#audubon#red-spotted purple butterfly#gray hairstreak butterfly#viceroy butterfly
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Crataegus
    Species:
    aestivalis
    Family:
    Rosaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    The plant is used in herbal medicine
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    North America, NC
    Distribution:
    NC, VA, GA, FL, AL and MS
    Wildlife Value:
    This plant provides nectar for pollinators. It is a larval host plant for Gray Hairstreak (Strymon melinus), Red-spotted Purple (Limenitis arthemis astyanax), and Viceroy (Limenitis archippus). Red-spotted Purple and Viceroy rarely use this host plant in North Carolina. Deer will browse the stems.
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Heat and drought tolerant.
    Edibility:
    Fruits used to make mayhaw jelly and pies or can be dried
    Dimensions:
    Height: 10 ft. 0 in. - 40 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 35 ft. 0 in. - 40 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Edible
    Native Plant
    Shrub
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Frequent Standing Water
    Moist
    Occasionally Wet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    7b, 7a, 8b, 8a, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Red/Burgundy
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Pome
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    .5 to 1-inch fruits are fleshy and ripen earlier than other hawthorns. Red fruit displays from June to July.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Solitary
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Cup
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Description:
    White 5 petaled flowers bloom from March to May either singularly or in clusters of 2-3.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Obovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Crenate
    Lobed
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Description:
    2-4 inch long dark green oval leaves are often three-lobed and have red/brown undersides. Margins are toothed.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Gray/Silver
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Form:
    Zig Zags
    Stem Description:
    Crooked spiny branches
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Coastal
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Edible Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Barrier
    Flowering Tree
    Hedge
    Small Tree
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Pollinators
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Wet Soil