Crataegus phaenopyrum

Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: Washington hawthorn 
Type: Tree
Family: Rosaceae
Native Range: Southeastern United States
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 25.00 to 30.00 feet
Spread: 25.00 to 30.00 feet
Bloom Time: June
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Hedge, Street Tree, Flowering Tree
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Leaf: Good Fall
Attracts: Birds, Butterflies
Fruit: Showy, Edible
Other: Thorns
Tolerate: Air Pollution


Best grown in moist but well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerates light shade.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Crataegus phaenopyrum, commonly called Washington hawthorn, is native to Missouri where it is primarily found in open ground, thickets and wood margins in the Ozark region of the state (Steyermark). It is noted for its attractive flowers and foliage, bright red fruits and fall color. It is a small, low-branching, deciduous tree that typically grows 25-30’ tall with a rounded crown. Thorny stems are clad with shallowly lobed, serrate, glossy dark green leaves (to 2 1/2” long). Leaves turn attractive shades of orange and red in fall. Fragrant, 5-petaled, white flowers in clusters (corymbs) bloom in late spring. Flowers are followed in fall by bright red 1/4” diameter globose fruits (pomes) that persist throughout the winter. The fruit is sometimes called a haw. The word haw also means hedge, the hawthorn thus being a thorny hedge. Washington hawthorn is native from Virginia to Missouri, Arkansas and Alabama.

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

Specific epithet comes from Greek meaning resembling a pear, in probable reference to the flowers.

Washington hawthorn reportedly was first grown commercially near Washington, D.C. in the late 1700s, hence the common name.


Washington hawthorn shows good resistance to cedar-apple rust. Fire blight, fungal leaf spots, powdery mildew, cankers and apple scab are occasional problems. Insect pests include borers, caterpillars, lacebugs, leafminers and scale.


Small flowering landscape tree for lawns or streets. Specimen, small groups or screen. May be pruned as a hedge.