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):

Rose

Family (Botanic):

Rosaceae

Tree or Plant Type:

  • Tree

Foliage:

  • 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

Wildlife:

  • 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.

Location of Crataegus viridis (Green hawthorn) at the Arboretum