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Washington hawthorn

Leaves and fruit of Washington hawthorn.

Washington hawthorn is one of the commonly planted hawthorn species. It has the typical white flowers, followed by red fruit that persist into winter. This species is fairly thorny and is prone to the cedar-rust diseases.

Botanical name:

Crataegus phaenopyrum

All common names:

Washington hawthorn

Family (English):


Family (Botanic):


Planting Site:

  • Residential and parks,
  • City parkway,
  • Wide median

Tree or Plant Type:

  • Tree


  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)

Native Locale:

  • Illinois,
  • North America

Landscape Uses:

  • Specimen,
  • Shade tree,
  • Parkway/street

Size Range:

  • medium tree (25-40 feet)

Mature Height:

25-30 feet

Mature Width:

20-25 feet

Light Exposure:

  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
  • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)

Hardiness Zones:

  • Zone 3,
  • Zone 4,
  • Zone 5 (Chicago),
  • Zone 6,
  • Zone 7,
  • Zone 8

Soil Preference:

  • Moist, well-drained soil


  • Dry sites,
  • Wet sites,
  • Alkaline soil,
  • Clay soil

Acid Soils:

  • Tolerant

Alkaline Soils:

  • Tolerant

Salt Spray:

  • Intolerant

Soil Salt:

  • Moderately Tolerant

Drought Conditions:

  • Tolerant

Poor Drainage:

  • Moderately Tolerant

Planting Considerations:

  • Dangerous thorns

Ornamental Interest:

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

Seasons of Interest:

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

Flower Color & Fragrance:

  • White

Shape or Form:

  • Oval,
  • Round

Growth Rate:

  • Moderate

Transplants Well:

  • Yes


  • Game birds,
  • Migrant birds,
  • Songbirds

More Information:

Tree & Plant Care

Site this tree in front of evergreens for winter effect.
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


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 to 3 inches long;  3 to 5 lobed and triangular in shape overall; toothed margins.
Leaves are dark green in summer, changing to red or purple in fall.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Flowers are unpleasantly scented; small white flowers in broad, flat clusters; late spring.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

This tree yields persistent red fruits (pomes).



Location of Crataegus phaenopyrum (Washington hawthorn) at the Arboretum