Cockspur hawthorn is a Chicago-area native that provides beautiful flowers in spring and persistent fruit in fall and winter. This species should be used with care as it has long thorns and is prone to disease. White flowers in the spring, persistent red fruit, and the orange-red fall color of this Midwestern native make it a nice addition to the four-season landscape.
"This species is native to the Chicago Region according to Swink and Wilhelm's Plants of the Chicago Region, with updates made according to current research."
This plant has some cultivated varieties. Go to list of cultivars.
- Chicago area
- North America
- Residential and parks
- Medium tree (25-40 feet)
- Small tree (15-25 feet)
- Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
- Zone 3
- Zone 4
- Zone 5
- Zone 6
- Zone 7
- Moist, well-drained soil
- Moderately Tolerant
- Dangerous thorns
- Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
- Spring blossoms
- Fall color
- Persistent fruit/seeds
- Showy fruit
- Showy flowers
- Early winter
- Mid winter
- Early spring
- Mid spring
- Late spring
- Late summer
- Early fall
- Mid fall
- Late fall
- Game birds
- Migrant birds
- Nesting birds
Tree & Plant Care
Site this tree in front of evergreens for winter effect.
This tree has very long thorns and should be sited carefully.
Disease, pests and problems
Cedar rust diseases, fireblight, leaf spots, scale and mites.
Disease, pests and problem resistance
Tolerant of black walnut toxicity.
Native geographic location and habitat
Common in pastures, forest edges and thickets.
Bark color and texture
Bark is rough and slightly shaggy with age.
This plant has 2 to 3 inch long thorns on the stems.
Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture
Simple, alternate leaves, 1 to 4 inches long; dark, glossy green; rounded at the tip and narrow at the base.
Fall color is purplish.
Flower arrangement, shape, and size
Flowers are unpleasantly scented; small creamy white flowers in broad, flat clusters; late spring.
Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions
This tree yields persistent red fruits (pomes).
Cultivars and their differences
“This plant is a cultivar of a species that is native to the Chicago Region according to Swink and Wilhelm's Plants of the Chicago Region, with updates made according to current research. Cultivars are plants produced in cultivation by selective breeding or via vegetative propagation from wild plants identified to have desirable traits."