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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
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Sunday - August 10, 2014

From: Montpelier, VT
Region: Northeast
Topic: Plant Identification, Trees
Title: Identification of tree with outrageous thorns
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Can you identify this tree? It has these outrageous thorns on its trunk. They are in clusters and are anywhere from 1" long to 4" long or so.

ANSWER:

All species of Crataegus (hawthorns) have thorns but probably the one with the most formidable ones is Crataegus crus-galli (Cockspur hawthorn).  Here are photos and more information from Plants of Wisconsin.

Here are some other hawthorns that can be found in Vermont: 

Crataegus brainerdii (Brainerd's hawthorn)  Here are photos and more information from GoBotany.

Crataegus chrysocarpa (Fireberry hawthorn)  Here are photos and more information from Trees and Shrubs of the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden in Minneapolis, MN.

Crataegus dilatata (Broadleaf hawthorn)  Here are photos and more information from FloraFinder.

Crataegus dodgei (Dodge's hawthorn)  Here are photos and more information from Go Botany.

Crataegus flabellata (Fanleaf hawthorn)  Here are photos and more information from Go Botany.

Crataegus holmesiana (Holmes' hawthorn)  Here are photos and more information from Go Botany.

Crataegus intricata (Copenhagen hawthorn)  Here are photos and more information from Go Botany.

Crataegus jonesiae (Miss jones' hawthorn)  Here are photos and more information from Go Botany.

Crataegus mollis (Downy hawthorn)  Here are photos and more information from University of Wisconsin Green Bay Herbarium.

Crataegus pruinosa (Waxyfruit hawthorn)  Here are photos and more information from Go Botany.

Crataegus punctata (Dotted hawthorn)  Here are photos and more information from Go Botany.

Crataegus scabrida (Rough hawthorn)  Here are photos and more information from Go Botany.

Crataegus submollis (Quebec hawthorn)  Here are photos and more information from Go Botany.

Crataegus succulenta (Fleshy hawthorn)  Here are photos and more information from Go Botany.

Michigan Flora has a key that contains most of the species of Crataegus that occur in Vermont in case you would like to key your plant out.

If none of the Crataegus species is your plant and you have (or can take) photos of it, please visit our Plant Identification page to find links to several plant identification forums that accept photos of plants for identification.

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Cockspur hawthorn
Crataegus crus-galli

Arnold hawthorn
Crataegus ×anomala

Brainerd's hawthorn
Crataegus brainerdii

Fanleaf hawthorn
Crataegus flabellata

Downy hawthorn
Crataegus mollis

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