TREES & plants

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.'

Botanical name: 
Crataegus viridis
All Common Names: 
green hawthorn
Family (English): 
Family (Botanic): 
Tree or Plant Type: 
  • Tree
Native Locale: 
  • Chicago area
  • Illinois
  • North America
Planting Site: 
  • Residential and parks
  • City parkway
  • Wide median
Landscape Uses: 
  • Specimen
  • Shade
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
  • Zone 6
  • Zone 7
Acid Soils: 
  • Tolerant
Alkaline Soils: 
  • Tolerant
Salt Spray: 
  • Intolerant
Soil Salt: 
  • Intolerant
Drought Conditions: 
  • Tolerant
Poor Drainage: 
  • Moderately Tolerant
  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
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: 
  • Round
  • Spreading
Growth Rate: 
  • Moderate
Transplants Well: 
  • Moderate
  • Migrant birds
More Information: 

Size and Form

20 to 25 feet high and 20 to 30 feet wide; broad rounded form.

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.

Native geographic location and habitat

Native to the Southern United States up through southern Illinois.

Attracts birds & butterflies

This plant is a larval host to the striped hairstreak, and red-spotted purple butterflies.
Hawthorn also provides food to many species of birds  as the fruit persists well into winter.

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.