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Dwarf Hawthorn Crataegus munda

Other Common Name(s):

Other plants called Dwarf Hawthorn:

Previously known as:

  • Crataegus invicta
  • Crataegus pexa
Phonetic Spelling
krah-TEE-gus MUN-duh
Description

Crataegus, or Hawthorn, is a genus of a tree or shrub that contains many species and varieties found throughout North Carolina from the eastern low swamps and and river bottoms to the western mountain ridges. Crataegus munda, or Dwarf Hawthorn, is a native shrub found in the sand hills of North Carolina south to Florida.  It is considered rare in North Carolina and is called Dwarf because it grows only 3 to 5 feet tall and wide, making it the smallest of the hawthorns. White flowers appear in early spring and are followed by reddish pomes that attract birds. The stems are loaded with thorns and provide protection for small mammals and birds. In a mass planting, its small size and many thorns make it a formidable security hedge.

This plant prefers drier sites in sandy soils in sun to partial shade. It could potentially be used as a native wildlife plant in a naturalized area. It is not generally commercially sold.

Diseases, Pests, and Other Plant Problems:

No known diseases or pests.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • var. pexa
var. pexa
Tags:
#thorns#deciduous#white flowers#shrub#wildlife plant#moths#deciduous shrub#nectar plant#native shrub#cover plant#food source#NC native#edible fruits#pollinator plant#Braham Arboretum#larval host plant#compact habit#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:
  • var. pexa
var. pexa
Tags:
#thorns#deciduous#white flowers#shrub#wildlife plant#moths#deciduous shrub#nectar plant#native shrub#cover plant#food source#NC native#edible fruits#pollinator plant#Braham Arboretum#larval host plant#compact habit#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:
    munda
    Family:
    Rosaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    The leaves, berries, and flowers are used in medicines and herbals for cardiovascular health. The wood is strong, tough, and hard, but has little commercial value.
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Southeastern United States
    Distribution:
    Virginia south to Florida and west to Mississippi
    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). Red-spotted Purple and Viceroy rarely use this host plant in North Carolina. Good nesting habitat with thorns providing protection from predators.
    Play Value:
    Attracts Pollinators
    Edible fruit
    Wildlife Cover/Habitat
    Wildlife Food Source
    Dimensions:
    Height: 3 ft. 0 in. - 5 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 2 ft. 0 in. - 4 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Shrub
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Mounding
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    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 Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    7b, 7a, 8b, 8a, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Red/Burgundy
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Pome
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Small red pome with 1 to 5 pyrenes that resemble the “stones” in related plums, peaches, etc. Sometimes called the ‘haw’. Matures Sept.- Oct.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Corymb
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Cup
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    One or two flowers per inflorescence with 5-lobed calyx, 5 petals, usually 20 stamens (anthers usually white or yellow). Blooms March-May. Can have unpleasant odor that attracts midges for fertilization.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Cuneate
    Ovate
    Spatulate
    Leaf Margin:
    Crenate
    Lobed
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    One to one and a half inch long leaves are spatulate to cuneate, with a base narrowly cuneate. Tips are rounded, lobes number 0 or 3 per side distally, margins are serrulate-crenate on the distal 1/2 with glandular teeth.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Gray
    Light Gray
    Surface/Attachment:
    Smooth
    Bark Description:
    Bark is thin, smooth, and gray. On old stems, it breaks up into narrow scales.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Purple/Lavender
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Form:
    Straight
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    New growth is green with suppressed hairs. Older stems are purple-brown, slender, straight and have numerous thorns. Stems sometimes winged for half its length.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Coastal
    Naturalized Area
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Barrier
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Pollinators
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds