Whitethorn or English hawthorn is a small tree that can be utilized under power lines, but it may be difficult to find in nurseries. Typical of hawthorns, this species has white flowers in spring, followed by red fruits. Stems bear one inch long thorns.
All Common Names:
Tree or Plant Type:
- Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
- Residential and parks,
- Wide median,
- Under utility lines
- Small tree (15-25 feet)
- Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
- Zone 4,
- Zone 5 (Chicago),
- Zone 6,
- Zone 7
- Moist, well-drained soil
- Dangerous thorns,
- May be difficult to find in nurseries
- Spring blossoms,
- Showy flowers
Season of Interest:
- Mid spring,
- Late spring,
- Late summer
Flower Color & Fragrance:
Shape or Form:
- Insect pollinators,
- Migrant birds
Tree & Plant Care
This tree is thorny and should be sited carefully.
Disease, pests, and problems
Cedar rust diseases, fireblight, leaf spots, scale and mites.
Disease, pest, and problem resistance
Tolerant of black walnut toxicity.
Native geographic location and habitat
Native to Europe.
Bark color and texture
Bark is rough and slightly shaggy with age.
This plant has thorns on the stems.
Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture
Simple, alternate leaves, 1/2 to 3 inches long; 3 to 5 lobed; toothed margins.
Leaves are dark green in summer, with very little color change in fall.
Flower arrangement, shape, and size
White flowers in broad clusters; late spring. There are cultivars with pink or red flowers.
Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions
This tree yields persistent red fruits (pomes) that may grow as large as 1/2 inch.