Photinia serratifolia
Common Name: Chinese hawthorn 
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Rosaceae
Native Range: China, India, Japan, Philippines
Zone: 6 to 9
Height: 12.00 to 20.00 feet
Spread: 9.00 to 16.00 feet
Bloom Time: April
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Hedge
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Leaf: Evergreen
Fruit: Showy
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Drought


Winter hardy to USDA Zone 6 where it is easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Somewhat drought tolerant once established. Propagate by cuttings. Avoid wet soils. Water root zones (avoid getting water on the leaves). Site plants in areas with good air circulation. Prune in winter to thin (create better air circulation). Shrubs grown in USDA Zone 6 should be sited in protected areas such as the southern or western sides of buildings.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Photinia serratifolia, commonly called Chinese photinia or Chinese hawthorn, is an evergreen shrub or small tree of the rose family. As a shrub, it typically matures to 12-20’ tall. As a tree, it can rise to as much as 35’ tall. It is native to woodland areas, slopes, mountainsides, riverbanks and roadsides in central to eastern China, Taiwan, Japan, Indonesia, India and the Philippines. It has escaped gardens and naturalized in the U. S. from Georgia to Texas. Leathery, lustrous, oblong, deep green, evergreen leaves (4-8” long by 1.5 to 3.5” wide) have prominent mid-ribs and serrate margins. A small number of leaves will turn reddish in fall and overwinter. New growth emerges in spring with rose-bronze tones. Five-petaled white flowers (each to 1/3” across) bloom in spring (April) in somewhat flattened, terminal corymbose panicles (to 4-7” wide). Flowers are ornamentally attractive but have an unpleasant aroma. Flowers give way to spherical green berries (1/4” diameter) which mature first to red and finally to brownish-purple, typically persisting on the plant into winter.

Leaves are considered to be toxic to some animals due to presence of cyanogenic glycosides.

Genus name comes from the Greek word photeinos meaning shining in reference to the shiny leaves of some species.

Specific epithet comes from the Latin words serrula meaning small saw and folia meaning leaf in reference to the serrated leaf margins.

This Chinese-native shrub is sometimes described as being a thornless relative of hawthorns or Crataegus, hence the common name.


This species is resistant to photinia leaf spot disease Entomosporium maculatum which causes significant problems to some species of photinia. This leaf spot disease is generally more difficult to control in the hot and humid summer climates of the deep South in USDA Zones 8-9 than in climates further north. Fireblight and powdery mildew may also occur. Watch for aphids and scale.


Specimen. Screen. Large hedge.