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Hawthorn Trees

Although their forebears grew in the English Midlands, nowadays Hawthorns seem to us to be as American as apple pie.

a hawthorn tree.

Photo: Steven House Photography

Hawthorn trees have small red fruit in late summer known as 'haws'.

Hawthorns have small red fruit in late summer that are known as haws.The shoots of Hawthorns have inch long spines, so the name is a combination of the name of its fruit and the shape of its thorny spines.

It has leaf margins that are toothed and textured with small hairs and flowers, borne in clusters in the spring, that are white with yellow anthers. This small tree is tolerant of pollution and therefore is well suited for urban plantings.

Other Variations

  • The ‘Downy Hawthorn” grows wild from Nova Scotia and Quebec south to Texas and west to Nevada.
  • The ‘Cockspur Hawthorn’ is aptly named as it has the sharpest and longest thorns, like the spurs of a rooster, but redeems itself each fall when its leaves look like orange marmalade.
  • One Hawthorn cultivar, ‘Paul’s Scarlet’, produced in 1858, is especially attractive with clusters of double dark pink flowers that cover the tree in late spring/early summer. Subsequently, oval, scarlet fruits appear and persist until late fall. The maximum height is 33 ft, and it is pollinated by insects. It has gray bark and glossy dark green leaves that are pale-green on the reverse side.
Moya Andrews

, originally from Queensland, Australia, served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University until 2004. In the same year, Moya began hosting Focus on Flowers for WFIU. In addition, Moya does interviews for Profiles, is a member of the Bloomington Hospital Board, and authored Perennials Short and Tall from Indiana University Press.

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