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CRATAEGUS mollis

Image of Crataegus mollis

James H. Schutte

Family

Rosaceae

Botanical Name

CRATAEGUS mollis

Plant Common Name

Downy Hawthorn

General Description

A large hawthorn worth growing for its edible fruit as well as for its ornamental attributes, this medium-sized deciduous tree from eastern North America has long been a favorite in gardens. Broad and domed in habit, it bears relatively large, oval, deeply toothed leaves that change from downy-gray when new to medium green in late spring to yellow or bronze in fall. The foliage is often marred by rust. Dense clusters of small white somewhat fetid flowers open in spring, giving rise to bunches of spherical to pear-shaped fruits that ripen bright red in late summer. The fruits soon drop from the tree. The gray horizontal to slightly ascending branches are sometimes spiny.

Hawthorns succeed in various soils but require good drainage and full sun. They usually do best in slightly acidic soil. Thin out excess twigs to emphasize this tree's attractive horzontal branching pattern. Cedar hawthorn rust can disfigure both foliage and fruits. Site this tree where its spines will not harm pedestrians and vehicles. Downy hawthorn may escape gardens by self-sowing.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    6 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    3 - 6

  • Sunset Zone

    1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17

  • Plant Type

    Tree

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun

  • Height

    25'-30' / 7.6m - 9.1m

  • Width

    30'-40' / 9.1m - 12.2m

  • Bloom Time

    Spring

  • Native To

    Northeastern United States, Mid-Atlantic United States, Southeastern United States, Central United States, Canada

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Spreading

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White

  • Fruit Color

    Red

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Yellow, Burgundy, Bronze

  • Bark Color

    Gray

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    Yes

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Platy

  • Usage

    Edible, Fruit / Fruit Tree, Shade Trees

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    Yes

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Birds

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes