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Crataegus phaenopyrum is often confused with:
Chaenomeles speciosa leaves and flowers
Plants that fill a similar niche:
Liriodendron tulipifera Liriodendron tulipifera
Crataegus spathulata
Acer rubrum Acer rubrum
Crataegus phaenopyrum has some common insect problems:
Hawthorn Lace Bug
Crataegus phaenopyrum has some common disease problems:
Fire Blight

Thornapple Crataegus phaenopyrum

Other Common Name(s):

Previously known as:

  • Cotoneaster cordatus
  • Crataegus populifolia
Phonetic Spelling
krah-TAY-gus fay-no-PYE-rum
Description

Crataegus, or Hawthorn, is a genus of shrub or small tree containing many species and varieties and native to North Carolina where it is often found in low swamps and river bottoms to the east and higher mountain ridges of the west. Crataegus phaenopyrum, or Washington hawthorn, is noted for its attractive flowers and foliage, bright red fruits long straight thorns, and fall color. It is a small, low-branching, deciduous tree that typically grows 25 to 30 feet tall with a rounded crown.

Washington Hawthorn prefers full sun. It will grow in partial shade, although this will impact the level of flowering and fruit. It tolerates urban pollution, prefers well-drained soil, and is pH adaptable. It will grown in heavy clay soil. Because it is thorny and tolerates extensive pruning, it can be grown as a hedge for a screen or security, planted in small groups, as a specimen in a lawn, or a street tree. The fruit of this plant is sometimes called the haw. Haw also means hedge, making hawthorn mean thorny hedge. When grown from seed, trees take from 5 to 8 years before bearing fruit; grafted trees will often flower heavily in their third year.

This plant has spike-like thorns (1 to 3 inches) and strong wood with a gray trunk. There are thornless cultivars for this plant such as 'Princeton Sentry' and 'Fastigiata'. It boasts orange, and scarlet to purple fall foliage.  It is the last hawthorn to flower and is also the most heat tolerant hawthorn.  It is tolerant of a wide range of soils but prefers moist, well-drained loam and to be planted in the full sun. 

Insects, Diseases, or Other Plant Problems:

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

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Clark'
    Heavy fruiter.
  • 'Fastigiata'
    Columnar growth form with smaller flowers and fruits, almost thornless..
  • 'Princeton Sentry'
    alMost thornless, vigorous growth, 30' x 20', upright branches.
  • 'Winter King'
'Clark', 'Fastigiata', 'Princeton Sentry', 'Winter King'
Tags:
#bees#fragrant#hummingbirds#thorns#deciduous#fall color#fragrant flowers#heat tolerant#specimen#wildlife plant#showy#fall interest#security#flowering tree#playground#hedges#lawn tree#food source#low flammability#deer resistant#spines#children's garden#red fruits#native garden#fire resistant#edible fruits#fall fruits#glossy#screening#fantz#larval host plant#food source fall#food source herbage#food source nectar#food source pollen#coastal FAC#Piedmont Mountains FAC#urban conditions tolerant#small group plantings#bird friendly#nectar plant late spring#food source soft mast fruit#butterfly friendly#nectar plant mid-spring#butterfly larvae#moth larvae#insects#small groups#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:
  • 'Clark'
    Heavy fruiter.
  • 'Fastigiata'
    Columnar growth form with smaller flowers and fruits, almost thornless..
  • 'Princeton Sentry'
    alMost thornless, vigorous growth, 30' x 20', upright branches.
  • 'Winter King'
'Clark', 'Fastigiata', 'Princeton Sentry', 'Winter King'
Tags:
#bees#fragrant#hummingbirds#thorns#deciduous#fall color#fragrant flowers#heat tolerant#specimen#wildlife plant#showy#fall interest#security#flowering tree#playground#hedges#lawn tree#food source#low flammability#deer resistant#spines#children's garden#red fruits#native garden#fire resistant#edible fruits#fall fruits#glossy#screening#fantz#larval host plant#food source fall#food source herbage#food source nectar#food source pollen#coastal FAC#Piedmont Mountains FAC#urban conditions tolerant#small group plantings#bird friendly#nectar plant late spring#food source soft mast fruit#butterfly friendly#nectar plant mid-spring#butterfly larvae#moth larvae#insects#small groups#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:
    phaenopyrum
    Family:
    Roseaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    The wood is strong, tough, heavy, and hard, but has little commercial value.
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Grafting
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Southeastern North America
    Distribution:
    Virginia to Georgia, Illinois to Kansas.
    Fire Risk Rating:
    low flammability
    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. Hummingbirds and butterflies nectar from the blooms.  Songbirds like cedar waxwings, quail, wild turkeys and small mammals eat the fruit. The dense branches provide nesting protection.
    Play Value:
    Edible fruit
    Fragrance
    Wildlife Food Source
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Washington hawthorn shows good resistance to cedar-apple rust. This plant is highly resistant to damage from deer.
    Edibility:
    The fruit can be eaten, raw or cooked. A dry flesh and very small, it often hangs on the tree all winter.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 25 ft. 0 in. - 30 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 20 ft. 0 in. - 25 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Edible
    Native Plant
    Perennial
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Dense
    Oval
    Pyramidal
    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
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Shallow Rocky
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Very Dry
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8b, 8a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Red/Burgundy
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Long-lasting
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Berry
    Pome
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Glossy red pome clusters in the fall, September to November and lasting through the winter. Bright red, shiny, 1/4 inch wide with edible flesh.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Corymb
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Cup
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    White flat-topped corymbs appear from April to June and last up to 10 days. Terminal and axillary corymbs with up to 50 1/2 inch flowers, white, 20 stamens, pink anthers, ½ inch wide. Odor may be unpleasant and attracts midges for fertilization.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Orange
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Lobed
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Dark green triangular leaves, glossy, simple, alternate, lobed with serrate margins, ovate 1 to 3 inches long and 1/4 to 2 1/4 inches wide. Leaf base is truncate with an acute apex. Red, orange, to purple fall color. Alternate, simple, 1-3" long, triangular-ovate with serrated, 3-5 lobed margin. Dark green above, lighter below. 1" long petiole.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Dark Gray
    Light Brown
    Surface/Attachment:
    Peeling
    Bark Plate Shape:
    Round
    Bark Description:
    Thin, gray bark that breaks up into narrow scales as the tree ages. Bark will fall off in flakes revealing and orange-red inner bark. Flat and plate-like with thorns on it.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Buds:
    Smooth/Hairless
    Stem Cross Section:
    Round
    Stem Form:
    Zig Zags
    Stem Description:
    Slender, brown stems have 1"-3" long thorns.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Lawn
    Recreational Play Area
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Children's Garden
    Edible Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Hedge
    Screen/Privacy
    Security
    Small groups
    Specimen
    Street Tree
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Hummingbirds
    Moths
    Pollinators
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Fire
    Heat
    Pollution
    Urban Conditions
    Problems:
    Frequent Insect Problems
    Spines/Thorns