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Crataegus opaca (Mayhaw)
Cox, Paul

Crataegus opaca

Crataegus opaca Hook. & Arn.

Mayhaw, Riverflat hawthorn, Western mayhaw

Rosaceae (Rose Family)

Synonym(s): Crataegus nudiflora


USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

Small tree with relatively tall trunk and narrow, rounded crown; or a large shrub. River-flat hawthorn or may haw is a small tree or shrub, to 30 ft., with spiny branches and oval to oblong, dark-green leaves. Clusters of showy pink or white flowers appear before and with the leaves. Large, green to reddish fruit ripens from May to June.

The large, edible fruit is made into preserves and jellies.


Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Size Class: 12-36 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Feb , Mar


USA: AL , AR , LA , MS , TX
Native Distribution: AL to e. TX, n. to s. AR
Native Habitat: Low, wet woods; creek and river bottoms

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Wet
Soil Description: Wet, rich soils.
Conditions Comments: Used as an ornamental or hedge in poorly drained, shady places. Fruit makes a delicious preserve.


Description: Stratified seed will germinate.
Seed Collection: Fruits may be hand-picked or shaken from the plant. Clean seeds from the pulp to avoid mold and fermentation. Air-dry before storing. Store in sealed, refrigerated containers.
Seed Treatment: 6-8 weeks of moist chilling improves germination.

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Native Bees

This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.

National Wetland Indicator Status

Status: OBL OBL
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:

Crosby Arboretum - Picayune, MS


Bibref 1620 - Gardening with Native Plants of the South (Reprint Edition) (2009) Wasowski, S. with A. Wasowski
Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Additional resources

USDA: Find Crataegus opaca in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Crataegus opaca in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Crataegus opaca


Record Last Modified: 2013-09-07
Research By: TWC Staff

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