The Hawthorn trees (Crataegus) are tiny fruit-producing deciduous trees with prickly branches, dark green leaves, and clusters of little white flowers. Hawthorn fruits are tiny red pome fruits that resemble clusters of minuscule crabapples. Hawthorns are a popular decorative tree that thrives in small areas with insufficient soil and drainage.
Hawthorn Trees Vs. Mayhaw Trees
Mayhaw trees, or Crataegus aestivalis and Crataegus opaca, are some of the hawthorn varieties that are called Mayhaw. trees are mid-sized fruit trees that produce Berry-like Mayhaw fruits in late April and early May. Mayhaw fruits are small pome fruits that resemble crabapples and grow to be up to 1″ (2.5 cm) in diameter. Sweet mayhaw jelly with a touch of bitterness is made from the tiny red mayhaw berries.
The most frequent hawthorn trees found in garden settings are covered in this article. Decide on the best flowering trees for your front or backyards with help from photos and descriptions of these. You’ll also learn more about the popular mayhaw trees in the area.
Facts About Hawthorns
Hawthorn trees are flowering deciduous trees with red fruit that grow in North America and Europe. Hawthorns may reach a height of 15 to 35 feet (4.5 to 10.5 meters) depending on the species. The spreading rounded crowns, abundant flower clusters, and acidic fruit distinguish the trees.
Hawthorn trees, which survive between 50 and 150 years, are a slower-growing species. USDA zones 5 through 7 are home to the appealing deciduous trees, which thrive in moist soil. Some species, on the other hand, are more cold-hardy. Specimen lawn trees and street trees are commonly grown as hawthorns.
Hawthorn leaves (right) are distinguished by deeply lobed leaves that are dark green on the upper side and pale green on the underside, as seen in autumn foliage. Fine tooth-like serrations on the lobed margins of hawthorn leaves are visible in photographs.
Ovoid, ovate, or wedge-shaped Hawthorn tree leaves are common. Between 1″ and 3″ (2.5 – 7.5 cm) long, Hawthorn leaves Hawthorn trees shed their leaves prior to winter, even when growing in warm areas such as Louisiana, Georgia, and Texas. The rich deciduous foliage turns golden and orange colors in the fall.
While it blooms, the Hawthorn tree is recognized for its massive clusters of creamy-white blossoms that dangle from the tree’s prickly branches. Hawthorn tree blooms bloom in the mid- to late-spring, giving gorgeous floral displays. Each hawthorn blossom has five petals, each of which has a strong musky fragrance.
Hawthorn corymbs, which are flat-topped and broad clusters of flowers, grow. The flower cluster may be rose or pinkish-red in color, depending on the hawthorn species. The blooms of the Cockspur Hawthorn (Crataegus crus-galli) and Black Hawthorn (Crataegus douglasii) are pink in color, for example. Hawthorn trees, on the other hand, are mostly white.
From fall until winter, hawthorn fruits resemble clusters of tiny, spherical berry-like fruits. The crimson skin of Hawthorn fruits protects the white meat. The fruit is fleshy and tangy, with one to five stones in the center, resembling tiny peach or apricot stones.
Hawthorn fruits range in diameter from 0.5 to 1 inch (1.2 to 2.5 cm). Hawthorn fruit (including mayhaws) is typically acidic and tangy, making it unpalatable to most individuals. The most popular way to consume these fruits is through Hawthorn jams and jellies such as mayhaw jelly.
Hawthorn fruit are referred to as berries, despite the fact that they look more like pome fruit. The tiny spherical fruits, like many other berry types, grow in clusters. The fruit can be red, yellow, blue, or orange-yellow depending on the Crataegus species.
Hawthorn bark is available in a number of different forms. bark is gray and has vertical fissures and narrow ridges. Washington Hawthorn (Crataegus phaenopyrum) is on the left, while Common Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) is on the right. The smooth, gray bark of a young hawthorn tree may be used to identify it. Hawthorn bark develops into dark brown colors with a rough, fissured look as it matures.
Hawthorn Tree Thorns
The thorns on a hawthorn branch are another method to identify them. Hawthorn thorns range from 1″ to 3″ (2.5 to 7.5 cm) in length, depending on the direction of growth. If you’re not careful, a hawthorn’s pointy, stiff spines might hurt you. thorn injuries might cause bleeding, bacterial infections, or allergies.
Hawthorn trees of most species are difficult to distinguish from one another. The prominently ovate green lobed leaves, colorful profusion of spring blooms, and dangling profusion of tiny berry-like fruits are all characteristics of Hawthorn species. The spreading, rounded to conical crown of hawthorns is also well-known.
Types of Hawthorns (With Pictures)
Let’s explore the most frequent varieties of flowering hawthorn trees, which may provide beauty and variety to your garden surroundings in more depth.
Common hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna)
The common hawthorn is a little, thorny tree with lobed green leaves and white flowers in clusters. It bears tiny red fruits. The common hawthorn is a flowering shrub-like tree that grows between 15 and 45 feet (5 and 14 meters) tall. It is also known as the may blossom. USDA zones 5 through 7 are ideal for common hawthorn trees.
Hawthorn’s prickly branches are well-liked as well. Some flower buds produce thorns, while others produce thorns at the tip of the stem. The grayish thorny bark with thin, vertical fissures is another way to differentiate this hawthorn species.
Full sun or partial shade, as well as moist, well-drained soil, are ideal for the common hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna). Single-seed hawthorn, hedgerow thorn, quickthorn, and maythorn are some of the other names for the common European hawthorn.
Hawthorn Flowers: Hawthorn blossoms feature tiny pink anthers amid huge clusters of delicate white flowers. The flat white sprays cover most of the branches while blooming in late spring. Hawthorn blossoms have a lovely fragrance.
Hawthorn Fruit: clusters of edible red berries that are 0.4″ (1 cm) in diameter are common hawthorn flowers. From autumn until winter, the berry-like fruits resemble little crabapples.
Hawthorn Leaves: Three or four lobes on each side, common hawthorn leaves are obovate shaped. Like the leaves of some oak tree species, the dark green leaves are lobed. In the autumn, the leaves turn a golden color.
English hawthorn (Crataegus laevigata)
The English hawthorn is a huge blooming shrub or tiny tree with bright green lobed leaves, profusion of pale pink or white flower clusters, and brilliant crimson round berries. Crataegus laevigata, sometimes known as the mayflower or woodland hawthorn, grows to 26 feet (8 meters) tall. In damp, well-draining soils, the ornamental tree thrives.
The English hawthorn grows in USDA zones 5 through 8 and is native to Europe. Smooth hawthorn, Midland hawthorn, and quickset thorn are some other names for the English hawthorn tree. Hawthorn Fruit: Hawthorn fruit are bright red berry-like pomes that develop in thick clusters on English hawthorn trees. Each of these little flattened spherical fruits is 0.2 to 0.4 inches (0.6 to 1 cm) in diameter.
Hawthorn Flowers: The English hawthorn’s spring blossoms dangle from the branches like five-petaled flowers. The pale pink or white corymbs resemble apple or cherry blossoms in shape and size.
Hawthorn Leaves: Three to five lobes on glossy green ovate leaves. The leaves are positioned alternately and range in size from 1 to 3 inches (2.5 to 7.5 cm). Hawthorn leaves from the United Kingdom lack any remarkable autumn color.
Cockspur hawthorn (Crataegus crus-galli)
The cockspur hawthorn is a little deciduous shade tree or shrub with unlobed, serrated-edged leaves, lovely white blossoms, and crimson apple-like fruits. With a rounded, pyramidal form, this hawthorn species grows between 15 and 35 feet (4.5 and 10 meters) tall.
It has a smooth bark with tiny fissures that is light gray. The cockspur hawthorn has showy, fragrant white blooms, as do other Hawthorns. The flowers bloom in the spring and produce a lovely fragrance that turns fetid after a while.
The ovate, glossy, green leaves of the Crataegus crus-galli Hawthorn species may be up to 3 inches (7.5 centimeters) long. The leaves of this species are unlike those of other Hawthorn trees, in that they don’t have lobes. In the fall, the leaves change colors from red, orange, and purple.
The cockspur hawthorn’s huge, long thorns are another characteristic in the fall. Spines up to 4″ (10 cm) long have been reported.
Thornless cockspur hawthorn (Crataegus crus-galli var. inermis)
Crataegus crus-galli var. thornless Cockspur Hawthorn tree Hawthorn trees (such as the Merrem) have dense foliage, white flower clusters, and red berries that are all characteristic of the thornless cockspur hawthorn tree. The Crataegus crus-galli var. crus is slightly different. The thornless Hawthorn variety Endemis is unique. This tree’s thorns pose no danger to you or your family when planted in your yard.
Full sun and most kinds of wet soils are ideal for the thornless cockspur hawthorn. Between 20 and 30 feet (6 and 9 meters) tall, the shrubby tree grows. You may, however, restrict its height by pruning it often. This hawthorn species may be grown as a flowering hedge, privacy screen, or specimen tree depending on your landscaping needs.
Washington Hawthorn (Crataegus phaenopyrum)
The Washington hawthorn is a little multi-stemmed tree with glossy green, ovate leaves, lovely white blooms, and brilliant red berries. It is known by several names including Crataegus phaenopyrum. This deciduous tree has a rounded crown and thick, dense foliage that is also known as the Washington thorn.
Washington Hawthorns have dark gray to brown peeling bark that is around 20 to 25 feet (6 to 7.5 meters) tall. When a mature tree ages, its bark becomes scaly and flakes. Orange-red coloration dominates the inner bark.
The bark of this hawthorn is covered with thorns, like other hawthorns. Hawthorn is native to the United States and thrives in USDA zones 4 through 8. This handsome landscape tree thrives in full sun and requires no irrigation. As long as there is adequate drainage, mature trees adapt well to dry or wet soils.
The Washington hawthorn has spiky branches and roots, much like other hawthorns. You can prune the tree as a flowering privacy screen or security hedge because of its shrubby growth. This species is a popular specimen shade tree because of its showy white flowers, gorgeous autumn colors, and crimson winter berries.
Several individuals refer to the Washington hawthorn as one of the most lovely decorative hawthorns because to its lovely, showy flower shows and brilliant red autumn color. The Washington hawthorn is recognized for its abundance of flat-topped clusters of white blossoms. Hawthorn Flowers: From mid-spring to mid-summer, the white Hawthorn tree is in bloom. This hawthorn species’ blossoms produce a pungent odor.
Hawthorn Fruit: From September through November, little bright red pome clusters emerge from the Washington Hawthorn flowers. The tangy taste of the glossy berry-like fruits, which can be up to 0.2″ (0.5 cm) wide,
Hawthorn Leaves: Washington hawthorn leaves are triangular or ovate shaped and grow 1″ to 3″ (2.5 – 7.5 cm) long. Little maple leaves look like lobed leaves. On thorny branches, the leaf margins are serrated and have a simple, alternate arrangement. Crataegus phaenopyrum’s autumn foliage ranges from scarlet to orange in hue.
Chinese Hawthorn (Crataegus pinnatifida)
The Chinese hawthorn, sometimes known as Crataegus pinnatifida, is a tiny shrub-like plant with lobed green leaves, white flower clusters, and huge globular fruits. Hawthorn trees can grow to be 15 to 23 feet (4.5 to 7 meters) tall. The thin gray bark and an irregular, rounded crown distinguish this low-maintenance tree species. The bright red, edible apple-like fruits of the Chinese hawthorn are one of its distinguishing characteristics. The red fruit clusters are among the largest hawthorn fruits, and the tree’s name in Chinese means “big red fruit.”
The ovate leaves of Chinese Hawthorn have pointed lobed borders. The leaves create a thick canopy on the tree and grow between 2″ and 4″ (5 to 10 cm) long. During spring, the white corymbs of most Hawthorns turn the tree into a sea of whiteness.
Black hawthorn (Crataegus douglasii)
Black hawthorn has fan-shaped serrated leaves, white flowers, and black purple nearly black fruits. It is a tiny thorny shrub or tree (Crataegus douglasii). The black hawthorn has a spreading crown of spreading branches and is used as an ornamental landscape tree.
Hawthorn trees range in height from 10 to 25 feet (3 to 8 meters) and across. The glossy, leathery leaves of this Hawthorn create a thick canopy of shade that is characteristic of this hawthorn. Hawthorn leaves turn orange, yellow, or red in the fall.
Then, in the fall and winter landscapes, clusters of bright dark purple or black fruits seem to add color. Hawthorn is an excellent hedge plant for a privacy screen or security barrier because of its natural shrubby growth.
Mayhaw Tree Varieties (Crataegus opaca and Crataegus aestivalis)
The fruits of mayhaw trees, Crataegus aestivalis and Crataegus opaca, are used to make jellies and jams in the swamps of the southern US. Mayhaw trees produce clusters of pinkish-white blooms with brilliant red fruits that range in height from 12 to 36 feet (4 to 11 m).
The large berry-like fruits or mayhaws of these hawthorn species ripen in May, giving them the common name of mayhaw. Mayhaw fruits are collected and used to make mayhaw jellies, preserves, and jams since they are too sour to eat. This crimson-red sauce is renowned in the southern United States, and it has a rich yet acidic flavor.
Oval, dark glossy green leaves, white or pink blossoms, and clusters of red apple-like mayhaws characterize the Western hawthorn (Crataegus opaca). Wedge-shaped, lobed green leaves with serrated edges give the May hawthorn (Crataegus aestivalis) its name. White blossoms bloom in isolated or grouped clusters. The mayhaw fruit is burgundy-colored and grows to be 1 inch (2.5 cm) long.
How to Plant Hawthorn Trees
In most garden settings, hawthorn trees are simple to establish. Several forms of soil suit the versatile decorative trees. Hawthorn trees grow best in moist soils, but they are drought-tolerant once they have established themselves. Hawthorn trees prefer full sun, but they can tolerate some shade.
Thornless hawthorns are the best option for children in the garden. Privacy screens and security hedges are both excellent uses for the thorny types. Hawthorns are attractive specimen trees for gardens because they grow as small trees.