Content Detail

Green hawthorn offers beautiful flowers and fruit and is more disease resistant than other species of hawthorn. The cultivar ‘Winter King’ is more commonly sold than the species.

  • Family (English) Rose
  • Family (botanic) Rosaceae
  • Planting site City parkway, Residential and parks, Wide median
  • Tree or plant type Tree
  • Foliage Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
  • Native locale Illinois, North America
  • Size range Small tree (15-25 feet), Medium tree (25-40 feet)
  • Mature height 20-35 feet
  • Mature width 20-35 feet
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 4, Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7
  • Soil preference Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil, clay soil, Dry sites, Occasional drought
  • Season of interest early winter, midwinter, mid spring, late spring, early fall, mid fall, late fall
  • Flower color and fragrance White
  • Shape or form Broad, Round
  • Growth rate Moderate
  • Transplants well Moderate
  • Wildlife Migrant birds
  • Has cultivars Yes


Green hawthorn can range anywhere from 15 to 25 feet for a small tree and 20 to 35 feet tall and wide for a medium tree.

Native geographic location and habitat:

It is native to the southern United States up through southern Illinois.

Bark color and texture:

Green hawthorn has mottled, multi-colored bark that improves with age. The stems have few to no thorns.

Leaf description:

It has simple, alternate, dark green, toothed, and shallowly lobed leaves that are 1 to 3 inches long. Fall leaf color is purplish-red.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size:

Small, creamy white flowers emerge in late spring on flat topped clusters and are unpleasantly scented.

Fruit, cone, nut and seed descriptions:

It gets persistent red berries called pomes.

Plant care:

Green hawthorn is a lower maintenance tree than most hawthorns, as it is more disease resistant. This species tends to have few to no thorns.

Disease, pest, and problem resistance:

Cedar rusts and fire blight are potential problems, but this species is more resistant to those diseases.  It has better resistance to the problems common to hawthorns and is pollution and black walnut toxicity tolerant.

Winter King green hawthorn (Crataegus viridis ‘Winter King’):

This cultivar is more vase-shaped, has larger fruits than those of the species, and is less susceptible to rust.


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