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Crataegus phaenopyrum (L. f.) Medik.
Washington Hawthorn, Washington-thorn
Rosaceae (Rose Family)
Synonym(s): Crataegus cordata, Crataegus populifolia, Crataegus youngii
USDA Symbol: CRPH
USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (I)
This is a dense, round-headed tree, to 30 ft., with slender thorns up to 3 in. long. Broadly triangular, deciduous leaves turn yellow to orange or scarlet in fall. Short trunk and regular, rounded crown of upright branches, abundant small flowers in spring, many small, round, red fruits, and brilliant autumn foliage; hairless throughout. Clusters of white, apple-like blossoms precede bright-red berries which persist into winter. Trunk bark is silvery-gray and scaly; twigs are a flaky, red-brown. There is a strong horizontal branching habit.
One of the showiest and most desirable hawthorns for planting. In the early 19th century, it was introduced into Pennsylvania from Washington, D.C., as a hedge plant and is thus called "Washington-thorn." The Latin species name refers to the pearlike foliage.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Size Notes: Up to about 30 feet tall.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Jun
DistributionUSA: AL , AR , DC , DE , FL , GA , IL , IN , KY , MA , MD , ME , MI , MO , NC , NJ , OH , PA , RI , SC , TN , VA , WV
Native Distribution: S.e. PA & NJ to FL, w. to s.e. MO
Native Habitat: Open woods; streambanks; open, rocky areas
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil pH: Circumneutral (pH 6.8-7.2)
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Moist soils.
Conditions Comments: Although susceptible to fire blight, several species of rust, and insect damage, this is one of the most tolerant and pest-free hawthorns. Thorns are dangerous; do not use this tree where small children play.
BenefitUse Wildlife: Provides favored food, cover and nesting habitat for birds.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Value to Beneficial InsectsSpecial Value to Native Bees
This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.
PropagationDescription: Propagate using stratified seed.
Seed Collection: Remove seeds from fruit before treatment. Seeds lose viability if stored for more than one year.
Seed Treatment: Washington hawthorne seeds may have a double dormancy requiring 4 months warm, followed by 4 months cool stratification. Some authorities say a single period of moist chilling is sufficient for germination.
Commercially Avail: yes
Mr. Smarty Plants says
October 21, 2009
Hi...Can you please identfy the tall, evergreen shrub with purple plum-colored foliage that I have noticed in winter locally?...Hope so, need he color! THX
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National Wetland Indicator Status
BibliographyBibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.
Search More Titles in Bibliography
Web ReferenceWebref 3 - Flora of North America (2014) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Crataegus phaenopyrum in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Crataegus phaenopyrum in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Crataegus phaenopyrum
MetadataRecord Modified: 2022-10-05
Research By: TWC Staff