Washington hawthorn tree images


Common species

Two species that make ideal hedges are the common hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) and the smooth hawthorn, also known as whitethorn, (C. laevigata). The smooth hawthorn has given rise to several cultivated varieties with showier flower clusters in pink and red, though it and other ornamental species often suffer from leaf spot, fire blight, and cedar hawthorn rust, which cause early defoliation and decline.

A most strikingly thorned American species is the cockspur hawthorn (C. crus-galli), with extremely long, slender thorns up to 8 cm (3 inches) long; a thornless variety is also available. The Washington hawthorn (C. phaenopyrum) is famous for its red autumn colour and its abundant clusters of orange-red fruits that persist on the twigs well into winter; it is somewhat susceptible to rust but is otherwise a durable and much-used ornamental. Downy, or red, hawthorn (C. mollis) has whitish hairs on young twigs and downy leaves. The Lavalle hawthorn (C. ×lavallei) is a compact vase-shaped tree with dense glossy foliage.

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Numerous wild species form thickets in the eastern half of the United States, including the green hawthorn (C. viridis), the western mayhaw (C. opaca), the Copenhagen hawthorn (C. intricata), the dotted hawthorn (C. punctata), and the fleshy hawthorn (C. succulenta). Ecologically, hawthorns are especially important to a variety of bird species, as they provide both food and protective nesting areas.

Hawthorns belong in a very large family encompassing over 1,000 types, though all have similar characteristics and all produce attractive fruit. Despite their susceptibility to pests and diseases, they fulfill many uses within the landscape.

Shared Characteristics

Since the different varieties closely resemble each other, it’s hard to distinguish one from the other. The vast majority of types have branches covered in thorns, which range from under and inch to 3 inches long and all produce pome fruits. Though classified as small trees, they have a tendency to send up suckers, which leads to multiple trunks or creates a large shrub if not pruned. They average between 15 and 30 feet tall and wide. The small trees have a slow to moderate rate of growth.

One drawback to growing them, other than the thorny branches, is they are prone to a variety of diseases and pest problems.

Foliage and Bark Description

Depending on the variety, bark is generally thin and smooth, though some types are scaly and is reddish-brown to grayish in color. Newer branches are greenish-orange and covered in reddish-brown thorns, depending on type.

Alternate foliage is usually serrated, wedge-shaped, oblong or round, depending on type and glossy green in springtime and depending on the variety, changes to orange-red during fall. All types of hawthorn are deciduous, dropping their leaves during winter.


Depending on the variety, hawthorns bloom in early spring to late summer, typically covered in small white flowers that generally have a pungent smell. They are members of the rose family and their flowers resemble miniature roses. However, some hybrid cultivars produce rose or pinkish flowers. Plants are profuse bloomers, with flowers covering the tree.

Pome Fruits

All varieties produce small clusters of reddish-to-black berrylike fruits, technically classified as pomes, forming several months after flowering. Unripe fruit is green. Depending on the specific variety, fruits form in late springtime throughout early autumn and persist on the plant for several months. Some common names for the fruits include haws and thorn-apple.

Fruit size ranges from approximately 1/2 inch to approximately 1 inch in diameter, depending on type, and resembles a cranberry or crabapple in looks and taste. Many types are juicy with an acidic taste, and each fruit contains several seeds prized by various species of birds. Though berries are edible, many types taste better than others do, with varieties such as May and Western used to make wine, condiments, desserts and preserves, usually in local markets where the plant grows. However, the largest consumers of the berries are rabbits, squirrels, raccoons, deer and small rodents.

Ripe Hawthorn pomes Unripe Hawthorn fruit

Harvesting the Fruits

Before harvesting, wait until the fruit achieves its full color and is ripe. You can hand pick the fruits, placing them in a container as you go, but that is a time-consuming process. An easier way to harvest a large amount of fruits at one time is to spread a tarp or sheet under the tree’s canopy and then shaking it. The ripe fruits will fall on the cover while the unripe fruit remains on the tree.

Selection of Types

The many varieties are too numerous to name, but a few examples include the following trees.


Western hawthorn (Crataegus opaca), also called mayhaw, is another edible pome-producing native used for making jams and syrup. It grows as a small, deciduous and thornless tree reaching about 30 feet tall and wide at maturity, with 2 inch green foliage with smooth edges. White flowers bloom in spring, followed by the 1-inch red pomes ripening in May. It is hardy in USDA zones 7 through 9 and has a good resistance to disease.


May hawthorn (Crataegus aestivalis), also called apple hawthorn, is a deciduous, native variety prized for the jelly produced from its 1-inch red pomes ripening in May. Some cultivars don’t have thorns. It grows as a small tree, reaching approximately 30 feet tall and wide at maturity, producing white blossoms in early spring. Green, oval foliage averages 2 inches long and doesn’t change color in fall. The tree is hardy in USDA zones 6 through 11 and has a good resistance to disease.


Washington hawthorn (Crataegus phaenopyrum) is a native, deciduous small tree averaging 20 feet tall and wide at maturity. White flowers cover the tree during the first part of summer, followed by clusters of 1/2-inch reddish-orange fruits in autumn prized by wildlife. Green serrated and lobed foliage average 3 inches long, changes to orange-red in fall. It has 1- to 3-inch thorns covering the branches, and it’s prone to a variety of diseases and pests. It is hardy in USDA zones 3 through 8.


Black hawthorn (Crataegus douglasii) is a native, small deciduous tree averaging 30 feet tall and wide at maturity. It’s green serrated and oblong foliage averages 3 inches long and changes to orange-red in fall. Thorns ranging from 1/2 to 1 inch long cover the branches. White flowers cover the plant in early summer, followed by clusters of 1/2-inch purple-black berries ripening in early fall. It is hardy in USDA zones 2 through 7. It is not as prone to insects and diseases as other varieties.


English hawthorn (Crataegus laevigata) averages 20 feet tall and wide at maturity and unlike many others in the family, it retains its green foliage until it drops in winter. One-inch thorns cover the branches and in late spring, flowers form ranging in colors of white, pink or rose, depending on the cultivar, followed by 1/2-inch red berries in early fall prized by wildlife. This variety is susceptible to a host of diseases and pests. It is hardy in USDA zones 4 through 8.

Landscape Uses

Hawthorns have various uses in the landscape, though gardeners should consider their thorns when selecting a location or plant a thornless variety. Due to their thorny nature, you probably don’t want to plant one close to walkways or entranceways.

With their canopy’s busting into a massive amount of blooms, use the small tree as a specimen where the flowers, berries and fall color can put on a show. They also work well in pollinator and butterfly gardens because the flowers attract beneficial insects to the garden.

The trees also work well in native or wildlife gardens, providing shelter and food for local species of mammals and birds. If left unpruned, the trees work well used as hedges or screening plants, and if pruned to have one main trunk, they work well as small shade trees.

Since many grow naturally around stream banks, they can be planted around ponds in the home landscape. Due to their thorns, you probably don’t want to use them around pool areas.

Basic Growing and Planting Requirements

Even though the majority of them are prone to various problems, they are hardy trees that perform well in a variety of conditions. When planting a nursery-purchased tree, you should plant the root ball at the same depth that it was growing inside its container. Planting too deep puts undo stress on the tree.

If adding several trees into the landscape, allow approximately 15 to 20 feet between multiple plants to promote healthy and unobstructed growth. Planting multiple plants too closely also cuts down on air circulation, which opens the hawthorn up to pest and disease problems.

Plant them with the following requirements in mind.

  • Soil: These trees perform well in all types of soil conditions from sandy to clay and acidic to alkaline. They do not require gardeners to amend soils with organic matter before planting and thrive in moist soils that drain well.
  • Light: The trees grow, flower, and produce fruit in partially shady to full-sun locations.
  • Moisture: Most varieties are relatively tolerant to drought conditions once established in the planting site and tolerate moist conditions. To get new plantings off to a good start, water weekly for about the first two months while the root system establishes itself. Thereafter, water every couple of weeks, especially if conditions are hot and dry.

Methods of Propagation

Gardeners can propagate new plants through grafting, planting seeds or softwood cuttings, though seeding and cuttings are the easiest route to take.

Propagating Seeds

Propagating plants through seeds is relatively basic and seedling plants start bearing fruit approximately four years after planting.

  1. Gather ripe fruit and place in a container of water and let soak overnight. Viable seeds sink to the bottom of the container and non-viable seeds float on top.
  2. Remove the viable seeds from the water and remove the flesh from the seed. Allow the seeds to dry on a paper towel for several days at room temperature.
  3. To help break through the hard seed coat, rub the outside of the seed with a file, as this helps in the germination process.
  4. Place moist peat moss inside a plastic bag and place the seeds inside of the moss. Seal the bag and place inside the refrigerator. Store the seeds inside the refrigerator for three months.
  5. Plant the seeds inside a draining planter filled with a potting mix and water. Keep the soil moist but not soggy.
  6. Place the container in a sunny location and the seeds should sprout in approximately one month.
  7. After germination, plant the tree into the landscape after about six to eight months.

Propagating Cuttings

Propagation through cuttings assures a quicker production of fruit, which happens in approximately two years. The process is fairly simple.

  1. Using sanitized pruning tools, trim off a softwood cutting approximately 12 inches long while the tree is dormant.
  2. Fill a 1 gallon container that drains with a well-drained potting mix and water the soil helping it settle before planting the cutting. Make approximately a 3- to 4-inch hole in the center of the container.
  3. Dip the cut portion’s end in a rooting hormone and shake off the excess. Put the cutting’s end into the hole and make sure you work the soil so the cutting is securely planted. Situate the container in a partially sunny location.
  4. Mist the cutting with water several time weekly creating humidity and keep the soil moist, but not soggy.
  5. Root development occurs in approximately three months and three to four months later you can plant the cutting into the landscape.

Basic Requirements for Care

The biggest care requirement for these trees is proper pruning to develop a strong structure and appropriate amounts of fertilizer for abundant growth and production of fruits.

Fertilizer Applications

Apply 1 pound of fertilizer for each inch of the trunk’s diameter split into two applications throughout the year. When applying, use half the total amount of fertilizer needed in the first application in February and the other half in late summer. Use a 5-10-10 slow-release blend and do not overfertilize or use too much nitrogen as it promotes fire blight.

Sprinkle the fertilizer evenly over the planting site, keeping it away from the trunk and scratch it into the soil. Water the fertilizer into the soil and off any foliage after applying.

Pruning Requirements

To create a strong structure, select the strongest and the healthiest central branch and trim off all the others at ground level. Over time, the plant will continue to send up additional water sprouts or suckers and it’s best to keep them trimmed off as they sprout.

The trees have a tendency to develop an open canopy as they mature, so it’s best to trim away any branches growing too close together to promote proper circulation of air. This also helps cut down on pest and disease problems. Trim off any dead, damaged, diseased or crossing branches anytime throughout the year. Otherwise, wait until the plant is dormant during winter to do any major pruning or shaping.

Common Pests

Gardeners should inspect their plants on a regular basis, checking for potential pest problems. Some pests only cause cosmetic problems warranting no control while other pests need treating before populations grow out of control.


Hawthorns are susceptible to various sap-sucking insects such as spider mites, aphids, lacebugs, and scales. A close inspection should note insects on the underside of the plant’s foliage or congregating along the fresh stems. Sapsuckers suck juices from the plant causing distorted leaves and discoloration. As they secrete a sweet substance called honeydew, the black-colored fungus sooty mold forms covering the leaves, which is cosmetic.

Many times and when populations are small, spraying with a strong blast of water dislodges the pests from the plant. Predatory insects such as ladybugs and predatory wasps prey on the insects killing them, so there’s no need for further control.

If populations rise, gardeners can use an insecticidal soap spray, which is a friendlier option to beneficial pollinators, to control aphids, lacebugs and spider mites. Saturate the infested foliage with the insecticide and reapply weekly, if needed.

Scale insects generally congregate along fresh new stems. If the infestation is small, gardeners can scrape the insects from the stem. In the event of a large infestation, spray the affected area with horticultural oil, reapplying weekly, if needed.


Leafminers are the larvae of the sawfly which overwinters in the soil beneath the pland the larvae usually appears in late spring. Damage is usually only cosmetic and doesn’t warrant control, showing up as leaf blotches or holes eaten in foliage.

Common Diseases

The first course of action gardeners can take in the prevention of disease problems is keeping the area underneath the plant clean of fallen leaf debris and fruit. Regularly inspecting plants, helps control potential problems before they get out of hand.

Rust Diseases

The trees are susceptible to a variety of rust problems, including cedar-quince rust and cedar-hawthorn rust. The rusts cause premature leaf drop and orange-yellow rust spots cover the plant’s foliage. Both types of rust affect the fruit, causing rust spots and deformation.

Control rust problems by not planting the tree by junipers, which is a host to the rust fungus and spraying with a copper fungicide when the problem first shows. Reapply the fungicide every 10 days to two weeks.

Blight Diseases

Leaf blight, fruit rot, and fire blight are common problems of these plants, with fire blight being the most serious. Fire blight symptoms include the tips of branches browning, which then travels to the foliage and flowers killing them, but both remain on the tree. Sunken cankers form along the branches. Control fire blight by not planting the trees near apples or pear trees, which are hosts to the problem and don’t overfertilize with nitrogen to promote excessive growth. Use sterilized pruning tools to prune off affected branches at least a foot into healthy wood while the tree is dormant and keep suckers pruned off at the ground.

Leaf blight and fruit rot are most problematic during springtime, causing the foliage to wilt and turn brown along with the fruit. The best prevention is keeping the area under the tree clean of all fallen fruit and leaf debris.

A Garden Delight

Even with their potential for problems, hawthorns add charm and color to gardens, with the bonus of bearing fruit. People have been utilizing the fruits for centuries in herbal medicines as well as adding their unique flavor to a host of culinary dishes.

Washington Hawthorn: A Blossom Amongst Thorns

(crataegus phaenopyrum)

If you’re looking to fill in the open spaces in your yard, or just add a bit of color to your landscaping, the Washington hawthorn is a great option. First introduced to Pennsylvania from Washington, the tree earned its name because of its prominent thorns.

Legend has it that Paul Bunyan used the Washington hawthorn’s branches as a back scratcher. Here are a few things to note if you’re considering adding one to your landscape.

Environmental Factors

  • Grows 1-2 feet a year reaching 25-30 feet at maturity.
  • Versatile tree, growing in a wide variety of hardiness zone (4-8).
  • Prefers full sun (6 hours of direct sunlight a day).
  • Drought-tolerant, grows in acidic, alkaline, loamy, moist, sandy, well-drained, wet and clay soils.

Physical Attributes

  • Blooms white flowers with reddish-purple leaves.
  • Produces bright red berries that hang until the winter. It is popular amongst birds.
  • Develops thorns on its branches, making it an effective barrier.

Flickr | Taryn Domingos

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Washington Hawthorn Tree

Title :
Category: Deciduous Trees

Facts about Washington Hawthorn Tree, “Scientific name for Washington Hawthorn Tree is Crataegus phaenopyrum”. Washington Hawthorn Tree is a variety of flowering tree generally recognized as Washington Thorn Tree. The Washington Hawthorn Tree attained its name from its point of source when brought into Pennsylvania from Washington, turning out to be recognized as the “Washington Thorn” due to its famous thorns. This is an excellent famine tolerant tree. When fully grown, the Washington Hawthorn tree attains the shape of a pyramid.
Features of Washington Hawthorn Tree
The Washington Hawthorn Tree is a small, multicolored, flowering tree that will grow in any land. This ornamental tree offers beautiful, showy flowers that are white in color. The pleasant display of the tree starts with reddish-purple colored leaves coming into view in the spring season, and then, they become dark green in color when they are joined by an elegant display of white color flowers. The leaves of the tree will turn to scarlet, orange or purple color during the autumn season. Red berries of the tree extend the multicolored show into winter, habitually contrasting wonderfully with the initial winter snow. If left without trimmed, the thorns of the tree make an extremely efficient barrier.
A Full grown Washington Hawthorn Tree can absorb as much as 48 pounds (21.77 kg) of carbon dioxide a year. The same Washington Hawthorn Tree could also produce enough oxygen in a day for two people. In a single day, a large Washington Hawthorn Tree can drink up to 100 gallons (378.5 liter) of water from the ground and discharge it into the air.
You can tell a Washington Hawthorn Trees age by the number of growth rings. Growth rings size shows what kind of conditions accrued that year, the temperature and if it was a dry or wet year.
Bark of the Washington Hawthorn Tree protects it from the elements and is made up of dead cells.
Washington Hawthorn Tree roots usually grow two to three times the width of the tree branches. The ideal time to fertilize your Washington Hawthorn Tree is in late fall or early spring. If you want to transplant a Washington Hawthorn Tree do it in fall, this is ideal for most trees.
The Washington Hawthorn Tree is extensively developed as an ornamental plant, and can attain the height, ranging from 25 to 30 feet (7.62 to 9.14 meters), with the maximum spread of 25 feet (7.62 meters). The Washington Hawthorn tree grows at an average growth rate and performs well in complete sunlight. The Washington Hawthorn Tree grows well in alkaline, acidic, loamy, wet, well drained, sandy and clay soils.
Washington Hawthorn Tree leaves are made up of many colored pigments, green chlorophyll hides the colors during the growing season of spring and summer. As days get shorter and cooler temperatures come in the fall, it cause the chlorophyll to break down and than the other color pigments can be seen.
Washington Hawthorn Tree growth is referred to as Meristem (The undifferentiated embryonic plant tissue from which new cells are created, as that at the tip of a root or stem). This tissue can be found at the tips of shoots and leaves. Inside the stem growth in thickness occurs at the vascular cambium.
Washington Hawthorn Trees make their own food from sunlight, carbon dioxide, water, and nutrients from the soil.
Uses of Washington Hawthorn Tree
The Washington Hawthorn tree produces copious fruits, which are consumed by birds and animals. It is a significant nectar plant for bees. The small fruit of the Washington Hawthorn Tree, which is similar to a red berry fruit, grows closely together in big clusters and are a favorite food for birds and squirrels. The fruits of the Washington Hawthorn Tree have a mild taste and can be consumed raw or cooked. Like with other variety of hawthorn, the wood of the tree is hard and can be exploited to make tools.
The average lifespan of the Washington Hawthorn Tree ranges from 50 years to 150 years.

Search the Web for More information on Washington Hawthorn Tree at LookSeek.com Search


Members of the rose family, these small to medium-size, multitrunked trees are well known for their pretty, typically white flower clusters, which appear after leaf-out in springin fact, the hawthorn blossom is Missouri’s state flower. Showy fruits resembling tiny apples appear in summer and autumn and often hang on into winter. The thorny branches need some pruning to thin out twiggy growth. Hawthorns attract bees and birds but are not usually browsed by deer.

cockspur thorn

crataegus crus-galli

  • Zones US, MS; USDA 6-7.
  • Native to eastern U.S. and Canada.
  • Wide-spreading tree to 30 feet high, 35 feet across.
  • Stiff thorns to 3 inches long.
  • Smooth, glossy, toothed, 1- to 3 inches-long leaves are dark green, turning orange to red in fall.
  • Dull orange-red fruit.
  • Tough and drought tolerant.
  • Most successful hawthorn for Oklahoma.
  • Crataegus c.
  • inermis (‘Crusader’) is thornless.

english hawthorn

crataegus laevigata

  • Zones US, MS; USDA 6-7.
  • Native to Europe and North Africa.
  • Moderate growth to 1825 feet high, 1520 feet wide.
  • Best known through its selections.
  • Crimson Cloud (‘Superba’) has bright red single owers with white centers, vivid red fruit.
  • Double-owered forms (which set little fruit) include ‘Double White’, ‘Double Pink’, and ‘Paul’s Scarlet’, with clusters of rose to red owers.
  • All have 2 inches toothed, lobed leaves lacking good fall color.
  • Trees are very prone to leaf spot, which can defoliate them and shorten their life.

parsley hawthorn

crataegus marshallii

  • Zones US, MS, LS, CS; USDA 6-9.
  • Native to southern U.S. To 1015 feet tall and wide, occasionally to 25 feet Early spring flowers are dainty white with purple-tipped anthers.
  • Finely cut leaves to 112 inches long resemble parsley, turn red or yellow in fall.
  • Striking cherry-red fruits persist after leaves drop.
  • Tolerates a wide range of soils.
  • Relatively disease free.


crataegus opaca

  • Zones US, MS, LS, CS; USDA 6-9.
  • Native to southeastern U.S. Attractive, large shrub or small tree famous for its fruitscalled mayhawswhich are prized for making jelly.
  • Eventually reaches 2030 feet tall and wide.
  • Inch-wide flowers; matte green, lobed, 1- to 2 inches-long leaves with hairy undersides.
  • Fruits are typically red and ripen in early summer (though in the Lower and Coastal South, bloom may occur as early as January, and fruits may ripen by April or May).
  • In its native range, mayhaw grows in damp ground, but it will tolerate some dryness.
  • If you want to harvest the fruit to make jelly, choose a heavy-yielding selection.
  • The plant is self-fertile, but cross-pollination between two different selections produces heavier crops.
  • Full sun or light shade.

washington hawthorn

Big Red

  • Red fruit to 1 inches across.
  • Very dependable selection from the Pearl River swamps of Mississippi.


  • Red fruit to 34 inches across; all ripen at the same time, rather than over several weeks.

Golden Farris

  • Golden fruit over 12 inches in diameter.
  • Bears heavily and at an early age.


  • Dark red fruit almost 1 inches across.
  • Very productive.


  • Pink fruit prized for preserves.
  • From Texas and Louisiana.

Super Spur

  • Heavy crop of 34 inches red fruit; particularly good for jelly.

Texas Star

  • Red to orange-red fruit to almost 1 inches across.

crataegus phaenopyrum

  • Zones US, MS, LS; USDA 6-8.
  • Native to southeastern U.S. Moderate growth to 25 feet tall, 20 feet across.
  • Graceful, open limb structure.
  • Glossy leaves 23 inches long with three to ve sharp-pointed lobes (like some maples).
  • In Upper and Middle South, foliage turns beautiful orange, scarlet, or purplish in fall.
  • Broad flower clusters.
  • Shiny red fruit hangs on well into winter.
  • Not successful in the southern Midwest but a choice hawthorn elsewhere.
  • One of the least prone to reblight but quite susceptible to rust that disfigures fruit and foliage.

littlehip hawthorn

crataegus spathulata

  • Zones US, MS, LS, CS; USDA 6-9.
  • Native to southeastern and midwestern U.S. Large shrub or small tree to 15-25 feet high.
  • Small, bright green leaves are not deeply lobed.
  • Bright red fruit.
  • Tough.
  • Beautiful bark.

green hawthorn

crataegus viridis

  • Zones US, MS, LS; USDA 6-8.
  • Native to southeastern U.S. Moderate growth to 2530 feet.; broad, spreading crown.
  • Red fruit.
  • Winter King is vase shaped, with silvery stems and showy red fruit that lasts all winter; susceptible to rust.

These trees will grow in any soil as long as it is well drained. Better grown under somewhat austere conditions, since good soil, regular water, and fertilizer all promote succulent new growth that is most susceptible to reblight. The disease makes entire branches die back quickly; cut out blighted branches well below dead part. The rust stage of cedar-apple rust can be a problem wherever eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana) grows nearby. Aphids and scale are widespread potential pests.

Crataegus phaenopyrum – Washington Hawthorn

Scientific Name:Crataegus phaenopyrum (syn C. cordata)

Common Name: Washington Hawthorn

In March 1805, Thomas Jefferson ordered 4,000 thorns from the Thomas Main nursery, the first of several purchases of thorn plants for Monticello. The plants would serve as a live fence.1 Main called this particular species, which grew abundantly around Washington, the “American hedge thorn.”2

This highly ornamental member of the rose family grows from Canada through the southeastern United States and was introduced into Europe by 1738. The thorny branches and dense habit provide good habitat for birds and wildlife. It is a deciduous, spring flowering, North American tree with clusters of white flowers followed by spherical, glossy, bright red fruits and maple-like, deeply 3-lobed leaves turning orange to red in autumn.

– Peggy Cornett, CHP Information Sheet

Further Sources

  • Adams, Denise Wiles. Restoring American Gardens: An Encyclopedia of Heirloom Ornamental Plants, 1640-1940. Portland, Oregon: Timber Press, Inc., 2004.
  • Dutton, Joan Parry. Plants of Colonial Williamsburg. Williamsburg: Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, 1979.
  • Thomas Jefferson Center for Historic Plants.
  • 1. Betts, Garden Book, 299. See Joseph Dougherty to Jefferson, March 22, 1805, Thomas Jefferson Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society. Transcription available at Founders Online. See also Thomas Main to Jefferson, February 24, 1806, Thomas Jefferson Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  • 2. Ann Leighton, American Gardens in the Eighteenth Century (Amherst: The University of Massachusetts Press, 1986), 412.

The Washington hawthorn is quite possibly the best of all the ornamental hawthorns — and that’s saying a great deal, since they are a particularly showy and useful group of trees. It is especially interesting because of its resistance to fireblight, a disease that severely limits the use of many hawthorns.

Description of Washington hawthorn tree: A tall shrub or small tree, it grows to about 25 feet. Growth is rather columnar at first, eventually becoming rounded. The clustered spring flowers are white and numerous. The Washington hawthorn forms a thorny, horizontally branched crown clothed in a dense mass of dark green, lustrous foliage. The leaves turn orange-red in the fall, then drop to reveal an abundant crop of bright red berries.


Growing Washington hawthorn tree: Full sun and most soil conditions suit it well, although it does poorly in dry soils.

Uses for Washington hawthorn tree: An excellent city tree, it is important to prune away thorny lower branches so they will be out of the way of human contact The tree’s thorny nature makes it a good hedge for security purposes. The fruits not only attract birds but are delicious to eat.

Related species of Washington hawthorn tree: There are many other hawthorns of interest with white to pink, single or double flowers and edible, attractive fruit. Crataegus crus-galli Inermis, Thornless Cockspur Hawthorn, is an exceptional species with glossy, spathulate leaves, a wide oval crown, and no spurs. White Flowers are followed by large red fruits.

Scientific name of Washington hawthorn tree: Crataegus Phaenopyrum

Want more information on trees and gardening? Try:

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