Plant DetailShow Menu

Fanleaf Hawthorn, Crataegus macrosperma

Phonetic Spelling
kree-TEE-gus mak-roh-SPERM-uh
Description

Crataegus, or Hawthorn, is a genus containing many species and varieties distributed across North Carolina from the low swamps and river bottoms of the east to the higher mountain ridges of the west. Crataegus macrosperma, or Bigfruit Hawthorn, is a native large shrub or small tree found in mesic or subxeric hardwood forests, wooded slopes, rock outcrops, pastures, thickets, mountain balds and rocky summits in the Piedmont and mountains of North Carolina. The tree may vary in shape and size and fruit production depending on where it is growing, because hybridization occurs easily with other hawthorns. Despite the common name, the fruit is not exceptionally large.

Like most Hawthorns, Bigfruit Hawthorn has long straight thorns, white flowers that bloom in spring. and edible fruits in fall. This tree prefers a well-drained moisture-retentive loamy soil but is not at all fussy and will tolerate clay soils. It also tolerates drought and wind, but does not do well with salt air. Fruiting is best in full sun. It will grow in partial shade, but that will impact the quantity and quality of the fruit. When grown from seed, the trees take 5 to 8 years before they start bearing fruit; grafted trees will often flower heavily in their third year. The flowers have a smell like decaying fish that attracts midges, which are the main means of fertilization. When freshly open, the flowers have more pleasant scent.

Diseases, Pests, and Other Plant Problems:

No known diseases or pests.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#deciduous#small tree#edible plant#white flowers#shrub#wildlife plant#native tree#moths#native shrub#cover plant#spring flowers#NC native#red fruits#edible fruits#Braham Arboretum#larval host plant#bird friendly#nectar plant late spring#butterfly friendly#nectar plant mid-spring#pollinator garden#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats#red-spotted purple butterfly#gray hairstreak butterfly#viceroy butterfly
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#deciduous#small tree#edible plant#white flowers#shrub#wildlife plant#native tree#moths#native shrub#cover plant#spring flowers#NC native#red fruits#edible fruits#Braham Arboretum#larval host plant#bird friendly#nectar plant late spring#butterfly friendly#nectar plant mid-spring#pollinator garden#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats#red-spotted purple butterfly#gray hairstreak butterfly#viceroy butterfly
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Crataegus
    Species:
    macrosperma
    Family:
    Rosaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    The leaves, berries, and flowers are used in medicines and herbals for cardiovascular health. The wood is strong, heavy, and hard but has little commercial value.
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Eastern Canada and central and eastern United States.
    Distribution:
    AR, CT, DE, GA, IL, IN, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, NC, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, SC, TN, VA, VT, WI, WV Canada: NB, NL, NS, ON
    Wildlife Value:
    Important nectar flower for insects; food plant of many moths including the eggar moth; haws provide winter fruit for songbirds. It is a larval host plant for Gray Hairstreak (Strymon melinus), Red-spotted Purple (Limenitis arthemis astyanax), and Viceroy (Limenitis archippus). Good nesting habitat with thorns providing protection from predators.
    Play Value:
    Edible fruit
    Wildlife Cover/Habitat
    Wildlife Food Source
    Edibility:
    The fruit can be eaten raw or cooked. The fruit varies in size and quality, some forms having a thin yellow flesh that is juicy and acid while others have a much thicker flesh that is rather mealy but with a good flavor. The fruit can be used in making pies, preserves, etc, and can also be dried for later use.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 12 ft. 0 in. - 26 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 12 ft. 0 in. - 26 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Shrub
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Dense
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Coarse
    Appendage:
    Thorns
  • 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)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Moist
    Occasionally Wet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8a, 8b, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Red/Burgundy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Pome
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Small pome with 1 to 5 pyrenes that resemble the “stones” in related plums, peaches, etc. Sometimes called the ‘haw’.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Corymb
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Cup
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    One of the earliest Hawthorns to bloom in the sprint, flowers bloom in April and May. Clusters of white flowers with 5 petals, 5-10 stamens and pink to reddish-purple anthers. Unpleasant odor attracts midges for fertilization.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Lobed
    Serrate
    Undulate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    One to three inch oval to ovate leaves are sparse to densely glandular; base is rounded to cuneate, lobes 3 to 6 per side, apex acute to acuminate, margins serrate and irregulate in size.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Light Brown
    Red/Burgundy
    Surface/Attachment:
    Fissured
    Smooth
    Bark Description:
    The bark is thin and, on old stems, fissures with age in narrow scales.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Red/Burgundy
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Form:
    Zig Zags
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    New growth golden green to strongly reddish tinged and glabrous. 1-year old stems usually shiny and dark brown, older stems with thorns.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Meadow
    Naturalized Area
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Barrier
    Flowering Tree
    Hedge
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Pollinators
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Drought
    Pollution
    Wind