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Bransford, W.D. and Dolphia
Crataegus mollis Scheele
Downy hawthorn, White thorn, Whitethorn, Scarlet hawthorn, Scarlet haw
Synonym(s): Crataegus albicans, Crataegus arkansana, Crataegus brachyphylla, Crataegus cibaria, Crataegus gravida, Crataegus induta, Crataegus invisa, Crataegus lacera, Crataegus limaria, Crataegus mollis var. dumetosa, Crataegus mollis var. gigantea, Crataegus mollis var. incisifolia, Crataegus mollis var. sera, Crataegus noelensis, Crataegus pedicellata var. albicans, Crataegus placens
USDA Symbol: crmo2
USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)
Handsome tree with tall trunk and compact, rounded crown of spreading branches, large broad hairy leaves, many large flowers, and large scarlet fruit. Downy hawthorn is wide-spreading tree, 20-40 ft. in height, with horizontal branching and varying degrees of thorniness. The bark of the short trunk is silvery and scaly. Profuse, flat-topped clusters of white, rose-like blossoms are followed by persistent, tiny, red apples. Medium-green, fuzzy foliage is usually aborted in early fall due to infections. Little harm is done, since the species is not known for fall color.
One of the largest trees of its genus, Downy Hawthorn was originally called White Thorn. It was introduced into European gardens as early as 1683. The common and Latin species names both refer to the soft hairy foliage.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Tree Autumn Foliage:
Red Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White
Bloom Time: May , Jun
, WV Canada: NS
, QC Native Distribution:
to extreme e. ND,
s. to AL, LA
& OK Native Habitat:
Woodland borders; alluvial thickets; sandy hillsides; fields; roadsides
Growing ConditionsLight Requirement:
Sun , Part Shade , Shade Soil Moisture:
Dry , Moist Soil Description:
Variable. Conditions Comments:
This is an extremely variable tree
which will tolerate dry soils. It is very susceptible to a number of leaf diseases including rust blights. It should not be planted near red cedar, an alternate
host of several rusts. This is one the of first hawthorns to bloom in spring. The long, sharp thorns are hazardous.
Habitat for many birds and other wildlife. Only a few birds like the fruit
of Crataegus and, consequently, they remain effective for a long time. Use Medicinal:
Dried leaves or flowers have been administered in capsules, teas and tinctures for treating heart and circulatory problems. Studies have shown that hawthorn dilates blood vessels, thereby improving circulation, increasing oxygen supply to the heart and stabilizing blood pressure. (Kershaw) Warning:
Plant has thorns or prickles. Conspicuous Flowers:
PropagationDescription: Propagate using treated seed planted in fall. May not germinate until the second year.
Seed Collection: Not Available
Seed Treatment: Warm stratify at 70-77 degrees for 120 days followed by 135 days at 41 degrees.
Commercially Avail: yes
National Wetland Indicator Status
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 Suppliers Directory
According to the inventory provided by Associate Suppliers, this plant is available at the following locations:
American Native Nursery
- Quakertown, PA
Record Last Modified: 2012-10-20
Research By: TWC Staff