All Common Names:
- Dangerous thorns,
- May be difficult to find in nurseries,
- Messy fruit/plant parts
- Spring blossoms,
- Fall color,
- Showy fruit,
- Showy flowers
Season of Interest:
- Mid spring,
- Late spring,
- Late summer,
- Early fall,
- Mid fall
Flower Color & Fragrance:
Shape or Form:
- Moist, well-drained soil
- Game birds,
- Insect pollinators,
- Migrant birds,
- Nesting birds,
Tree & Plant Care
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
This species is common throughout the Midwest, found in a variety of habitats.
Bark color and texture
The bray bark is rough and slightly shaggy with age.
This plant has 1 to 2 inch long thorns on the stems.
Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture
Simple, alternate leaves, 2 to 4 inches long and wide; doubly-toothed margins; very hairy early in the season .
Fall color is yellow-brown.
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 red fruits (pomes).
Downy hawthorn has the typical white flowers and red fruit of hawthorns, but is not always as thorny as other species. This native tree is beautiful, but is prone to the cedar rust diseases.
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.
Tree or Plant Type:
- Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
- Chicago area,
- North America
- Residential and parks,
- Wide median
- Shade tree,
- Medium tree (25-40 feet),
- Small tree (15-25 feet)
- Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
- Zone 3,
- Zone 4,
- Zone 5 (Chicago),
- Zone 6