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Thornapple Crataegus pinnatifida

Phonetic Spelling
krah-TEE-gus pin-nat-ih-FY-duh
Description

Crataegus, or Hawthorn, is a genus of shrub or small tree containing many species and varieties found throughout the Southeast from low swamps and river bottoms to higher mountain ridges. Crataegus pinnatifida, or Chinese Hawthorn, is a species native to Eastern Asia. Unlike most Hawthorns, this species has only a few short thorns and is more open and upright, but it does display the flowers and provide the red berries common to the genus. The edible fruit in particular makes it attractive to birds. The flowers have an unpleasant smell somewhat like decaying fish, which attracts midges, the main means of fertilization. When freshly open, the flowers have more pleasant scent.

Chinese Hawthorn is easily grown and prefers a well-drained moist loamy soil. Once established, it succeeds in excessively moist soils and also tolerates drought and heavy clay soils. It prefers full sun, but will tolerate partial shade, although the amount of sun will determine the quantity of fruit.  Trees grown from seed take from 5 to 8 years before they start bearing fruit; grafted trees often flower heavily in their third year.

Diseases, Pests, and Other Plant Problems: 

No known issues.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#deciduous#wildlife plant#low flammability#fire resistant#larval host plant#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#wildlife plant#low flammability#fire resistant#larval host plant#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:
    pinnatifida
    Family:
    Rosaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    The wood is strong, heavy, tough, and hard, but has little commercial value.
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Grafting
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Russian Far East to China and Japan
    Distribution:
    Northern China and Korea
    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.
    Edibility:
    The fruit is edible, raw or cooked, with a pleasant flavor. The orange fruit has a mealy texture with an acid taste and a slight bitterness but is fairly nice raw. It ripens fairly late. The fruit can be used in making pies, preserves, etc, and can also be dried for later use. In China, the fruit is an ingredient used in sweet and sour sauce.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 15 ft. 0 in. - 23 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 10 ft. 0 in. - 23 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Open
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    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)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8b, 8a, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Red/Burgundy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Pome
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Globular, 3/4 inch light red fruit, edible, and attractive to birds.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Corymb
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Cup
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    White, 3/4 inch flowers in 3 inch clusters. Flower blooms from April to May. Initially an unpleasant odor, but turning more pleasant.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Dentate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Leaves are oval to wedge shaped, notched on the edges, 2 to 4 inches long with 5-9 lobes.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Light Gray
    Surface/Attachment:
    Scaly
    Bark Plate Shape:
    Irregular
    Bark Description:
    Bark is thin and gray. On old stems, it breaks up into narrow scales.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Cross Section:
    Round
    Stem Form:
    Zig Zags
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    Multi-stemmed, twiggy branches.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Flowering Tree
    Hedge
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Pollinators
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Drought
    Fire
    Pollution
    Wind