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Dotted hawthorn is named for its fruit which are red with white specks. This species has thorns that are up to three inches in length. Dotted hawthorn is very susceptible to the cedar rust diseases. Not commonly found in the nursery trade.

This species is native to the Chicago region according to Swink and Wilhelm’s Plants of the Chicago Region, with updates made according to current research.

  • Family (English) Rose
  • Family (botanic) Rosaceae
  • Planting site Residential and parks, Wide median
  • Tree or plant type Tree
  • Foliage Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
  • Native locale Chicago area, Illinois, North America
  • Size range Medium tree (25-40 feet), Small tree (15-25 feet)
  • Mature height 20-30 feet
  • Mature width 20-40 feet
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 4, Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7
  • Soil preference Alkaline soil, Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil, Clay soil, Dry sites
  • Season of interest early fall, late fall, late spring, late summer, mid fall, mid spring
  • Flower color and fragrance White
  • Shape or form Broad
  • Growth rate Moderate
  • Transplants well No
  • Planting considerations Dangerous thorns, May be difficult to find in nurseries
  • Wildlife Migrant birds
  • Has cultivars Yes
  • More information


Native geographic location and habitat:

It is native to Illinois. Commonly found in wet, lowland areas. C-Value: 2

Bark color and texture:

Bark is silvery gray, relatively smooth when young, becoming slightly platy or shaggy. This plant has long thorns on the stems.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture:

The simple, alternate elliptical leaves  have toothed margins. They are dull gray-green until turning orange-red in fall

Flower arrangement, shape, and size:

Late spring creamy white flowers in broad, flat clusters are unpleasantly scented.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions:

This tree yields persistent red fruits (pomes) that are speckled with white. Larger than fruit of other hawthorns.

Plant care:

Dotted hawthorn grows best in full sun, well-drained soil and is pH tolerant. Site this tree in front of evergreens for winter effect. This tree has very long thorns and should be sited carefully.

List of pests, diseases and tolerances:

Cedar rust diseases, fire blight, leaf spots, scale and mites. Tolerant of black walnut toxicity and drought conditions once established.

Ohio Pioneer Dotted Hawthorn (Crataegus punctata ‘Ohio Pioneer’):

A thornless tree reaching 20 to 30 feet high and wide.


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