Content Detail

Dotted hawthorn is named for its fruit which are red with white specks. This species has thorns that are up to 3 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 Small tree (15-25 feet), Medium tree (25-40 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 mid spring, late spring, late summer, early fall, mid fall, late fall
  • 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:

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

Bark color and texture:

Bark is silvery-gray, relatively smooth when young, becoming slightly platy or shaggy as the tree ages. 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:

Creamy white flowers in broad, flat clusters bloom in late spring and 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 insects, and mites are all potential problems. Tolerant of drought conditions once established and black walnut toxicity.

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

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


Your support is vital to the Arboretum, where the power of trees makes a positive impact on people’s lives.

Make a gift