Crataegus laevigata

Common Name: English hawthorn 
Type: Tree
Family: Rosaceae
Native Range: Europe
Zone: 4 to 7
Height: 15.00 to 20.00 feet
Spread: 15.00 to 20.00 feet
Bloom Time: April to May
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Hedge, Shade Tree, Street Tree
Flower: Showy
Attracts: Birds, Butterflies
Fruit: Showy, Edible
Other: Thorns


Best grown in moist but well-drained soils in full sun. This tree generally does not grow well in the hot and humid St. Louis summer climate where untreated fungal leaf spot and rust can severely disfigure the foliage.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Crataegus laevigata, commonly called English hawthorn, is native to Europe and North Africa. It is a small, low-branching, deciduous tree that is noted for its profuse spring bloom. It typically grows 15-20’ tall with a rounded crown. Straight to zigzag, thorny stems are clad with 3 to 5-lobed, dark green leaves (to 2 1/2” long). No fall color. White 5-petaled flowers in clusters (corymbs) bloom in mid spring. Flowers are followed by red fruits (pomes to 1/2” long) in fall. Many cultivars of English hawthorn, some featuring double flowers, are available in commerce today with flower colors including pink, rose, red and white. The species is rarely sold. The fruit is sometimes called a haw. The word haw also means hedge, the hawthorn being a thorny hedge. In the 1800s, English hawthorn was widely planted in England as a hedgerow plant because of its thorns.

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

Specific epithet means smooth.


Hawthorns are susceptible to a large number of insect and disease problems. Cedar-apple rust and fungal leaf spot can be quite damaging to the foliage. Powdery mildew, fire blight, cankers and apple scab may also occur. Insect pests include borers, caterpillars, lacebugs, leafminers and scale.


Small flowering landscape tree. May also be pruned as a hedge.