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Crataegus mollis

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Plant types and subtypes: Trees & Shrubs, Trees, Shrub-like Trees, Deciduous

Light Requirements: sun, part-sun

Water Use: medium

Soil Moisture: moist

Soil Description: rich, average

Height: 20'-40'

Bloom Time: April, May

Bloom Color: white

Leaf Color: green

Hardiness Zone: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Additional Tags: attracts birds, attracts butterflies, edible, fall interest, fragrant flowers, showy fruit

Crataegus mollis (downy hawthorn)
  • Crataegus mollis (downy hawthorn)
  • Crataegus mollis (downy hawthorn)
  • Crataegus mollis (downy hawthorn)

Pricing & Availability

Description

Crataegus mollis

Also known as:

downy hawthorn

,

white thorn

,

red hawthorn

Scientific Synonyms:

Crataegus albicans, Crataegus arkansana, Crataegus brachyphylla, Crataegus cibaria, Crataegus gravida, Crataegus induta, Crataegus invisa, Crataegus lacera, Crataegus limaria, Crataegus noelensis, Crataegus placens

Description

Crataegus mollis is an attractive medium-sized deciduous tree that will rarely exceed 45' at maturity. It is however the largest species from the genus. It is slow growing, produces a short, sturdy trunk and horizontally spreading branches. The stems bear sturdy up to 2" long thorns. White flowers appear in showy fragrant clusters in mid-spring, and are followed by 1" apple-like (pomes) showy, edible fruit that ripen by mid-summer, promptly falling afterward. The leaves are oval, up to 4" long, deeply serrated and downy (hence the common name "downy hawthorn"). They can produce good fall colors but tend to be susceptible to disease and fall before the end of summer.

Cultivation

Crataegus mollis is easy to grow and does not seem to be particular about soil types and is moderately tolerant of dry conditions. It prefers rich, moist well-drained soil in full sun. It can be pruned but this should be done in late winter because it is an early bloomer. It is best used as a specimen tree in open areas, and should be kept away from foot traffic because of its sharp thorns. Flowering occurs in April or May. Zones 4-8

Propagation

It is easiest to propagate from freshly collected seeds. Seeds that have been dried and stored will require a prolonged period of stratification.

Additional Notes

The fruit is edible and often made into preserves. Crataegus mollis provides valuable cover, and food for a variety of wildlife. Young plants quickly develop a taproot and are difficult to transplant. These should be placed in a permanent location as soon as possible. The genus name "Crataegus" means "flowering thorn".

Native Range & Classification

Recorded County Distribution: USDA data

Native Range:
AL, AR, CT, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, ND, NE, NH, NY, OH, OK, PA, SD, TN, TX, VA, VT, WI, WV

USDA Endangered Status:

  • Endangered: NY

Classification

Kingdom Plantae Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta Seed plants
Division Magnoliophyta Flowering plants
Class Magnoliopsida Dicotyledons
Subclass Rosidae
Order Rosales
Family Rosaceae Rose family
Genus Crataegus hawthorn
Species Crataegus mollis downy hawthorn