Hawthorn (Crataegus) is often referred to as thornapple and contains numerous varieties of small to large deciduous trees. These trees often grow as wide as they are tall and are planted for the ornamental value. Many hawthorn trees produce long, sharp thorns; white showy blossoms; and red fruits. Select hawthorn species that are native to your area for best results.
Cockspur hawthorn (Crataegus crus-galli) is one of the most popular types used in home landscaping as screening. This species is available in a variety known as thornless cockspur hawthorn (Crataegue crus-galli inermis) for use in areas where the thorns may be hazardous. The type is considered a large shrub or small tree that produces dark green glossy leaves that turn to a gold and then red in the fall. Cockspur hawthorn is native to many parts of North America and can grow to mature heights and widths from 10 to 15 feet.
English hawthorn (Crataegus laevigata) landscape uses includes screen border, specimen tree and hedging, if pruned as a hedge. This medium-size hawthorn tree can reach full heights from 15 to 20 feet with equal size spreads. Native to Europe, English hawthorn is hardy to zone 4 in America and is a slow-growing deciduous tree that forms a rounded crown. The leaves on this type of hawthorn tree are dark green in the summer and not of any ornamental value in the fall.
Washington hawthorn (Crataegus phaenopyrum) grows best in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 4 to 8. This type of hawthorn tree provides an array of colours throughout the year. The leaves emerge in a purplish-red colour in the spring, turn a deep emerald when the white blossoms appear in the summer and then change to orange, purple or red in the fall; the blossoms turn into red berries during the winter.
Downy hawthorn (Crataegus mollis) is also commonly called by its original name whitethorn or white thorn and is native to the United States. This type of hawthorn is among the first to bloom each year. Downy hawthorn is one of the largest types with a mature height of 20 to 40 feet with horizontal branches of the same length and a dense, rounded crown. The leaves of a downy hawthorn are big, wide, green and hairy.