Origin: Eastern U.S.A.
Washington thorn is a small tree with numerous sharp slender thorns.Read more about Tree, Bark, Twigs
Leaves are shiny, most often triangular with a pointed tip and two lobes close to the base.Read more about Leaves
Flowers are small and white, borne in compact clusters.Read more about Flowers
Fruits are orange to red, small, round, and shiny. orange to red.Read more about Fruit
Leaves are shiny, 4 - 6 cm (1 1/2" - 2 1/2") long, variable in shape, often triangular with a large central lobe and two lobes at the base.
Fruits are small, round, up to 6 mm (1/4") across, shiny orange-red in colour, borne in loose clusters.
DistributionWashington thorn is native to the southeastern United States, from Virginia to Florida and west to Arkansas and Missouri. It has become naturalized in the northeastern states.
Derivation of names
The genus name, Crataegus, is the classical Greek name for hawthorns. It is derived from the Greek word kratos, meaning strength. The species name, phaenopyrum, means "resembling a pear," from the Greek words phaino, to show, and pyrum, meaning pear, possibly a reference to its flowers. Washington thorn earned its common name when it was brought to Pennsylvania as a hedge plant from Washington, DC.
Washington thorn's place in Toronto's urban forest
Washington thorn is planted in parks as an ornamental tree. It is valued for its colourful autumn foliage, its attractive flowers, and its bright, presistent, orange-red fruits.
Landscape value and potential for home planting
Although it is normally shrubby in the wild, cultivated Washington thorn can grow into a small tree suitable for urban lots. It grows best in moist soils and is moderately tolerant of air pollution.
The cultivated variety 'Vaughn,' which is a cross between Washington thorn and cockspur hawthorn (Crataegus crus-galli) produces abundant fruit.
Pests and diseases: Washington thorn is highly resistant to many diseases and pests, especially cedar-hawthorn rust, which afflicts many other species of hawthorns.
Links to maps at Canadian Tree Tours: