WSU Clark County Extension

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Washington Hawthorn

Scientific name: Crataegus phaenopyrum

Type:Deciduous tree
Plant Requirements
Zone:3 to 9
Plant Characteristics
Height:30 ft
Width:25 ft
Bloom:Summer flowers
Bloom Time:June
Bloom Color:White
Additional Characteristics



Wildlife value

Description As an East coast native, Washington hawthorn is enjoyed all across the United States for its white bloom, fantastic scarlet fall foliage, and profusion of red berries that provide food for songbirds all winter long.

Forming a small rounded, dense canopy garden tree, this hawthorn species bears 2”-4” leaves which typically have serrated edges and lobes. The leaves are arranged alternately on the slender stems. New leaves emerge reddish-purple but soon take on their glossy green summer color. A mature tree is often multi-stemmed attaining a height of 25’ and width of perhaps 20’.

In early summer the trees produces a profusion of white flowers with pink anthers. The bloom lasts for approximately 2 weeks, during which time it has a somewhat objectionable odor. Of all the different hawthorn species, C. phaenopyrum is the last of the season to bloom.

Thorns (1” in length) are produced during the growing season on the twigs. Care should be taken in handling the limbs as the thorns are sharp and numermous.

In late summer fruit formation becomes notable. While initially green, the .25” diameter berries (classified as pomes as with apples or pears) turn an orange color by late summer, and then finish off the season becoming reddish-orange. During the winter the berries persist, or until the birds find them.

Washington hawthorn prefers full sun and well-drained soils but will tolerate poor soils, including those which are compacted, or droughty. This species can be used in wide array of situations: borders, hedges, barrier, specimen plant, street tree, naturalizing, and attracting wildlife.

Free from the leaf spotting fungus that plagues the older cultivars of English hawthorn (Crataegus laevigata).
For assistance, contact Dr. Charles Brun (, (360) 397-6060 5701
Computing and Web Resources, PO Box 6234, Washington State University, Pullman WA 99164-6234