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Crataegus coccinea (Scarlet Hawthorn)

Scarlet Hawthorn, Crataegus pedicellata

Scarlet Hawthorn, Crataegus coccinea

Crataegus coccinea, commonly known as the Scarlet Hawthorn, is a captivating, deciduous tree noted for its seasonal interest and vibrant red berries. Native to the eastern regions of North America, it plays an integral role in local ecosystems and landscapes.
The Scarlet Hawthorn is a visual delight with a rounded canopy and dense branching pattern. In spring, it’s adorned with a profusion of white flowers, transitioning to rich, green foliage in summer, and culminating in a display of scarlet berries and autumnal leaf color.

Crataegus coccinea: An In-depth Look

Native: This species has its roots in the eastern United States, found in a range from Kentucky to the Midwest and East Coast, showcasing its adaptability to various regional climates and conditions.

Plant Type and Habit: As a deciduous tree, it presents a broad, spreading habit, often with a rounded crown and horizontal branches armed with thorns, 2 inches long (5 cm). It provides a structured yet natural appearance in the landscape.

Size: The plant typically reaches heights and spread of 20-25 feet (6 to 7.5 meters), making it an ideal focal point or shade provider in small to medium-sized landscapes.

Flowers: Its white flowers are small but gather in showy clusters covering the tree, offering a spectacular floral display. They are unpleasantly scented.

Bloom Time: Flowering occurs in late spring, typically in May, a time when many other trees have just finished their floral show.

Fruits: The tree’s namesake scarlet fruits, or haws, appear in late summer to early fall, persisting into winter, adding vibrant color when many other trees are dormant.

Foliage: The ovate leaves, 3 inches long (7 cm), are dark green, sometimes lobed, often with coarsely toothed edges. They provide a dense canopy in summer and turn to shades of orange, scarlet, or purple in the fall.

Bark: The bark is rough and textured, with a gray to dark brown coloration, providing visual interest even in winter.

Hardiness: Scarlet Hawthorn is hardy in USDA zones 4-7, capable of withstanding temperate to cold climates, and various environmental stressors.

Uses: It’s widely used in ornamental landscaping for its aesthetic appeal and in wildlife gardens to attract birds and beneficial insects. The wood is also valued for tool handles and other applications requiring durability.

Wildlife: The tree’s flowers attract bees, butterflies, and other pollinators, while the fruits provide a food source for various birds and mammals during the fall and winter.

Deer and Rabbits: While no tree is entirely deer or rabbit-proof, Scarlet Hawthorn’s thorns and dense branching make it less palatable to these herbivores compared to more succulent plants.

Drought: Once established, Scarlet Hawthorn has moderate drought tolerance, though it prefers consistent moisture levels, especially in extreme heat.

Toxicity: The seeds inside the berries contain cyanogenic glycosides and are toxic if consumed in large quantities. However, the flesh of the fruit is safe for human consumption after cooking and is often used in jellies and preserves.

How to Grow and Care for Scarlet Hawthorn

Light: Full sun for optimal growth, but Scarlet Hawthorn tolerates light shade.

Soil: Adaptable to various soil types, but prefers well-drained, loamy soils. Tolerant of urban pollution.

Water: Moderate watering needs. Consistent moisture is important, especially in dry conditions.

Fertilizer: Apply a balanced slow-release fertilizer in early spring to promote vigorous growth.

Pruning: Prune in late winter. Remove dead or diseased branches, and thin out crowded areas to maintain shape and improve air circulation

Propagation: Propagate by seed in the fall or by hardwood cuttings in winter.

Pests and Diseases: Hawthorns are susceptible to cedar-hawthorn rust, quince rust, and fire blight. Other potential diseases include apple scab, leaf spot, and powdery mildew. Potential insect pests include aphids, borers, leaf miners, lace bugs, spider mites, and scales.

Hawthorn: How to Grow and Care with Success


Understanding how to grow and care for Hawthorn is crucial as these trees offer ecological benefits like attracting pollinators, providing wildlife habitats, and medicinal properties for humans. Proper knowledge ensures healthy growth, disease prevention, and the thriving of these striking additions to our landscapes.

Requirements

Hardiness 4 - 7
Climate Zones 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17
Plant Type Trees
Plant Family Rosaceae
Genus Crataegus
Common names Hawthorn
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Late)
Fall
Height 20' - 25'
(6.1m - 7.6m)
Spread 20' - 25'
(6.1m - 7.6m)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Average
Soil Type Loam, Clay, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Fragrant, Showy, Fruit & Berries
Native Plants United States, Northeast, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Wisconsin, Midwest, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Southeast, Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky
Attracts Bees, Butterflies, Birds
Garden Uses Hedges And Screens
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage
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Alternative Plants to Consider

Crataegus pinnatifida (Chinese Hawthorn)
Crataegus punctata (Dotted Hawthorn)
Crataegus marshallii (Parsley Hawthorn)
Crataegus mollis (Downy Hawthorn)
Crataegus douglasii (Black Hawthorn)
Crataegus persimilis ‘Prunifolia’ (Cockspur Hawthorn)

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Crataegus (Hawthorn) – What Is Wrong With My Tree?
Crataegus (Hawthorn): Pests and Diseases to Watch Out For
Hawthorn: How to Grow and Care with Success
Crataegus (Hawthorn)
For the Love of Bees: Best Flowers to Attract them to Your Garden
May Birth Flower: What is my Birth Flower?
Native Plant Alternatives to Crataegus monogyna (Common Hawthorn)
While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.
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Requirements

Hardiness 4 - 7
Climate Zones 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17
Plant Type Trees
Plant Family Rosaceae
Genus Crataegus
Common names Hawthorn
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Late)
Fall
Height 20' - 25'
(6.1m - 7.6m)
Spread 20' - 25'
(6.1m - 7.6m)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Average
Soil Type Loam, Clay, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Fragrant, Showy, Fruit & Berries
Native Plants United States, Northeast, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Wisconsin, Midwest, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Southeast, Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky
Attracts Bees, Butterflies, Birds
Garden Uses Hedges And Screens
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage
How Many Plants
Do I Need?
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Compare Now

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