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Crataegus marshallii (Parsley Hawthorn)

Parsley Hawthorn, Parsleyleaf Hawthorn, Thornapple

Crataegus marshallii, Hawthorn, Parsley Hawthorn, Thornapple

Crataegus marshallii, known as Parsley Hawthorn, is a complex and engaging species within the diverse Hawthorn genus. It is distinguished by its delicate, parsley-like leaves, which give it its common name. The branches often bear long thorns, and its crown tends to be rounded and spreading. It’s particularly noted for its white flowers and colorful autumn fruit.

Crataegus marshallii: An In-depth Look

Native: This species is native to the southeastern United States. Its range extends from Texas east to Florida and northward along the Atlantic Coast states. It can be found in open to partially shaded areas along the moist edges or slopes of floodplains, river banks, and wet woodlands.

Plant Type and Habit: Parsley Hawthorn is a deciduous, flowering shrub or tree. It exhibits a spreading habit with slender branches and a broad, irregular, open crown of parsey-like foliage.

Size: The plant typically reaches heights of 20-25 feet (6 to 7.5 meters) and spreads approximately 10 to 15 feet (3 to 4.5 meters) wide, creating a fairly compact stature ideal for smaller landscapes.

Flowers: The white flowers, about an inch (2.5 cm) in diameter, have five petals and numerous red-tipped stamens, creating a subtle but beautiful contrast. They grow in clusters, enhancing their visual impact.

Bloom Time: The flowers bloom in mid to late spring, offering early-season nectar for pollinators.

Fruits: Following the flowering stage, Parsley Hawthorn produces small apple-shaped fruits, called pomes. They ripen to a vivid red in early autumn and persist into winter, providing a food source for wildlife.

Foliage: The ovate leaves showcase 5 to 7 short pointed lobes with serrated edges. They are bright green, turning to a orange and burgundy in fall, offering multi-seasonal interest. leaves have 5 to 7 short pointed lobes and serrated

Bark: The bark is relatively smooth when young but develops a slightly shaggy appearance as it matures. The smooth, thin, thorny stems are gray with mottles of brown, which peel off in patches.

Hardiness: Parsley Hawthorn is hardy in USDA zones 7-9.

Uses: It’s utilized both for ornamental and wildlife-attracting purposes in landscapes. Its compact size makes it suitable for urban and residential settings, and it’s also used in restoration projects and native plant gardens. Parsley Hawthorn makes a nice specimen or informal hedge. It is a good choice for rain gardens, water gardens, butterfly gardens or pollinator gardens. The leaves, berries, and flowers are used in medicines and herbals for cardiovascular health.

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: White-tailed deer are drawn to Parsley Hawthorn for its palatable leaves, often indulging in them during their foraging.

Drought: Once established, Parsley Hawthorn exhibits a good degree of drought tolerance, making it suitable for xeriscaping in its native range.

Toxicity: There are no significant toxicity issues for humans, but the seeds inside the fruit should not be ingested as they contain cyanide precursors.

Benefits: This tree offers environmental benefits such as erosion control, air purification, and carbon sequestration. Its aesthetic appeal and wildlife-supporting features add up to its desirability in an ecologically balanced landscape.

How to Grow and Care for Parsley Hawthorn

Light: Full sun to partial shade for optimal growth.

Soil: Prefers well-drained clay or sandy loams. Tolerates occasionally dry to wet soil.

Water: Moderate moisture needs; water regularly, but allow soil to dry slightly between waterings.

Fertilizer: Apply a balanced slow-release fertilizer in early spring.

Pruning: Prune in late winter; remove dead or diseased wood and to shape or reduce size.

Propagation: Sow seeds in autumn or stratify for spring planting. Semi-hardwood cuttings can be taken in summer.

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 7 - 9
Climate Zones 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17
Plant Type Shrubs, Trees
Plant Family Rosaceae
Genus Crataegus
Common names Hawthorn
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Mid, Late)
Summer (Early)
Fall
Height 20' - 25'
(6.1m - 7.6m)
Spread 10' - 15'
(3m - 4.6m)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Average
Soil Type Loam, Clay, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Fruit & Berries
Native Plants United States, Southwest, Southeast, Midwest, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Georgia, Florida, Arkansas, North Carolina, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Texas, Oklahoma
Tolerance Drought, Wet Soil
Attracts Bees, Butterflies, Birds
Garden Uses Hedges And Screens, Ponds And Streams, Rain Gardens, Water Gardens
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage, Coastal Garden
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Alternative Plants to Consider

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

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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 7 - 9
Climate Zones 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17
Plant Type Shrubs, Trees
Plant Family Rosaceae
Genus Crataegus
Common names Hawthorn
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Mid, Late)
Summer (Early)
Fall
Height 20' - 25'
(6.1m - 7.6m)
Spread 10' - 15'
(3m - 4.6m)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Average
Soil Type Loam, Clay, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Fruit & Berries
Native Plants United States, Southwest, Southeast, Midwest, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Georgia, Florida, Arkansas, North Carolina, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Texas, Oklahoma
Tolerance Drought, Wet Soil
Attracts Bees, Butterflies, Birds
Garden Uses Hedges And Screens, Ponds And Streams, Rain Gardens, Water Gardens
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage, Coastal Garden
How Many Plants
Do I Need?
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