Common hawthorn is a thorny deciduous shrub or small tree and a member of the rose family, Rosaceae, that also includes cherry, lady’s mantle and almond. It is native to Europe, northwest Africa and western Asia but was introduced into the US and has become invasive in some areas. Also known as mayblossom and English hawthorn, plants grow 10-30’ tall, are densely branched, and have gray- brown bark with vertical orange fissures. The glossy green leaves are 1-1.5” long and have 3-7 deeply incised lobes. Clusters of 5-25 small white, five-petaled flowers have numerous red stamens and an unpleasant odor. They appear in late spring and give way to a one seeded red berry like fruit that is attractive to birds and other wildlife that aid in seed dissemination. Prolific seed production is responsible and wide dissemination has led to the invasive nature of the plant. The genus name, Crataegus, comes from Greek word krátaigos, the name of a related hawthorn. The specific epithet, monogyna, comes from the Greek words monos meaning single, and γυνή (gunḗ) meaning woman, and refers to the presence of a single stigma (female part of the flower).

Type: Deciduous shrub or small tree

Outstanding Features: Flowers, fruit

Form: Conical with rounded crown

Growth Rate: Moderate

Bloom: Cluster of 5-25 small, white, five petaled flowers with red stamens in late spring

Size: 10-30’ H x 10-30’ W

Light: Full sun to partial shade

Soil: Average, medium moist, well-drained, acid to alkaline

Hardiness: Zones 4-8

Care: Low maintenance

Pests and Diseases: Gall mites, aphids, leaf spot, fireblight

Propagation: Seed

Comments: Drought and pollution tolerant

Photo Credit: Lisa Jarvis, Wikipedia

By Karen