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Dotted hawthorn

Dotted hawthorn in full flower.

Dotted hawthorn is named for its fruit which are red with white specks. This species has thorns that are up to three inches in length. Dotted hawthorn is very susceptible to the cedar rust diseases.  Not commonly found in the nursery trade. 

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.  

Botanical name:

Crataegus punctata

All common names:

Dotted hawthorn

Family (English):


Family (Botanic):


Planting Site:

  • Residential and parks,
  • Wide median

Tree or Plant Type:

  • Tree


  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)

Native Locale:

  • Chicago area,
  • Illinois,
  • North America

Landscape Uses:

  • Shade tree,
  • Specimen

Size Range:

  • medium tree (25-40 feet),
  • Small tree (15-25 feet)

Mature Height:

20-30 feet

Mature Width:

20-40 feet

Light Exposure:

  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

Hardiness Zones:

  • Zone 4,
  • Zone 5 (Chicago),
  • Zone 6,
  • Zone 7

Soil Preference:

  • Alkaline soil,
  • Moist, well-drained soil


  • Dry sites,
  • Alkaline soil,
  • Clay soil

Acid Soils:

  • Tolerant

Alkaline Soils:

  • Tolerant

Salt Spray:

  • Intolerant

Soil Salt:

  • Intolerant

Drought Conditions:

  • Tolerant

Poor Drainage:

  • Tolerant

Planting Considerations:

  • Dangerous thorns,
  • May be difficult to find in nurseries

Ornamental Interest:

  • Spring blossoms,
  • Persistent fruit/seeds,
  • Showy fruit,
  • Showy flowers

Seasons of Interest:

  • mid spring,
  • late spring,
  • late summer,
  • early fall,
  • mid fall,
  • late fall

Flower Color & Fragrance:

  • White

Shape or Form:

  • Broad

Growth Rate:

  • Moderate

Transplants Well:

  • No


  • Migrant birds

More Information:

Tree & Plant Care

Best in full sun and well-drained soil. Soil pH tolerant.
Site this tree in front of evergreens for winter effect.
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, pest, and problem resistance

Tolerant of black walnut toxicity and drought conditions once established.

Native geographic location and habitat

C-Value: 2
Native to Illinois; commonly found in wet, lowland areas.

Bark color and texture 

Bark is silvery gray, realtively smooth when young, becoming slightly platy or shaggy.
This plant has long thorns on the stems.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Simple, alternate leaves;  dull, gray-green; elliptical with toothed margins.
Fall color is orange-red.

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 persistent red fruits (pomes) that are speckled with white.  Larger than fruit of other hawthorns.

Cultivars and their differences

Ohio Pioneer Dotted Hawthorn (Crataegus punctata 'Ohio Pioneer'): A thornless tree reaching 20 to 30 feet high and wide.

Location of Crataegus punctata (Dotted hawthorn) at the Arboretum