Crataegus coccinea

Tried and Trouble-free Recommended by 2 Professionals
Common Name: hawthorn
Type: Tree
Family: Rosaceae
Native Range: Eastern North America
Zone: 4 to 7
Height: 20.00 to 25.00 feet
Spread: 20.00 to 25.00 feet
Bloom Time: May
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Flowering Tree
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Leaf: Good Fall
Attracts: Birds, Butterflies
Fruit: Showy, Edible
Other: Winter Interest, Thorns


Grow in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerates a wide range of soils as long as drainage is good. Tolerates light shade and some drought. Tolerates many urban pollutants.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Crataegus coccinea, commonly called scarlet hawthorn or Ontario hawthorn, is native to eastern North America. In Canada, it occurs in southern Quebec and southern Ontario. In the U.S., it occurs from Maine to Minnesota south to Kentucky. It is a small, dense, broad-rounded tree to 20-25’ tall with horizontal branching armed with thorns (to 2” long). It is also seen as a large multi-stemmed shrub. Ovate (sometimes rounded), dark green leaves (to 3” long) are broadest near the base and sometimes lobed near the top. Leaves are coarsely toothed and mostly hairless. Leaves turn orange to purple red in fall. White flowers (in corymbs) bloom in May. Flowers emit an unpleasant fragrance. Flowers are followed by rounded fruits (1/2” diameter) that ripen to scarlet in September-October and typically persist to late fall/early winter. Fruits are technically edible, but are usually best left for the birds. The fruit is sometimes called a haw.

Genus name comes from the Greek name for the tree. From kratos meaning strength for its strong, hard wood.

Specific epithet means scarlet.


Pests and diseases are a problem with most hawthorns. Plants are susceptible to cedar hawthorn rust (rust stage where eastern red cedars are present in the area) and fireblight. Other potential diseases include fungal leaf spots, powdery mildew, cankers, apple scab, leaf blight and twig blight. Potential insect pests include aphids, borers, caterpillars, lacebugs, leafminers and scale. Red spider mites may also occur. Use of pesticide sprays may be advisable in areas where this plant suffers from significant diseases and insects. Thorns pose significant risks for young children, and also make culture/pruning more difficult.

Garden Uses

Small flowering landscape tree for lawns or open woodland areas. Notwithstanding disease susceptibility, a well-maintained tree can be ornamentally attractive. Thorns are a drawback for pedestrian areas or areas with small children. Plants may be effective when grown as barrier plants on property borders or in hedgerows.