TREES & plants

Green hawthorn

Flowers of green hawthorn.

Green hawthorn offers beautiful flowers and fruit and is more disease resistant than other species of hawthorn. The cultivar 'Winter King' is more commonly sold than the species. Photos on this page show 'Winter King.' 

This plant has some cultivated varieties. Go to list of cultivars.

Botanical name: 
Crataegus viridis
All Common Names: 
green hawthorn
Family (English): 
Family (Botanic): 
Tree or Plant Type: 
  • Tree
  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
Native Locale: 
  • Illinois, 
  • North America
Planting Site: 
  • Residential and parks, 
  • City parkway, 
  • Wide median
Landscape Uses: 
  • Parkway/street, 
  • Shade tree, 
  • Specimen
Size Range: 
  • Medium tree (25-40 feet), 
  • Small tree (15-25 feet)
Mature Height: 
20-35 feet
Mature Width: 
20-35 feet
Light Exposure: 
  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), 
  • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
Hardiness Zones: 
  • Zone 4, 
  • Zone 5 (Chicago), 
  • Zone 6, 
  • Zone 7
Soil Preference: 
  • Moist, well-drained soil
Acid Soils: 
  • Tolerant
Alkaline Soils: 
  • Tolerant
Salt Spray: 
  • Intolerant
Soil Salt: 
  • Intolerant
Drought Conditions: 
  • Tolerant
Poor Drainage: 
  • Moderately Tolerant
Ornamental Interest: 
  • Spring blossoms, 
  • Fall color, 
  • Persistent fruit/seeds, 
  • Showy fruit, 
  • Showy flowers, 
  • Attractive bark
Season of Interest: 
  • Early winter, 
  • Mid winter, 
  • Mid spring, 
  • Late spring, 
  • Early fall, 
  • Mid fall, 
  • Late fall
Flower Color & Fragrance: 
  • White
Shape or Form: 
  • Broad, 
  • Round
Growth Rate: 
  • Moderate
Transplants Well: 
  • Moderate
  • Migrant birds
More Information: 

Tree & Plant Care

Green Hawthorn is a lower maintenance tree than most hawthorns as it is more disease resistant.
This species tends to have few to no thorns.

Disease, pests, and problems

Cedar rusts and fireblight are potential problems but this species is more resistant to those diseases.

Disease, pest, and problem resistance

Better resistance to the problems common to hawthorns.
Tolerant of pollution and black walnut toxicity.

Native geographic location and habitat

Native to the Southern United States up through southern Illinois.

Bark color and texture 

Mottled, multi-colored bark improves with age.
Stems have few to no thorns

Green hawthorn (Crataegus viridis)Green hawthorn (Crataegus viridis)photo: John Hagstrom

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Simple, alternate leaves, 1 to 3 inches long; dark green, toothed and shallowly lobed.
Fall color is purplish red.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Flowers are unpleasantly scented; small creamy white flowers in flat topped clusters in late spring.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Persistent red berries (pomes).

Cultivars and their differences 

Winter King  (Crataegus viridis ‘Winter King’):  Fruits are larger than those of the species.  Less susceptible to rust.  Form is less rounded, more vase-shaped.

Crataegus viridis or Green hawthorn