Content Detail

Washington hawthorn is one of the commonly planted hawthorn species. It has the typical white flowers, followed by red fruit that persist into winter. This species is fairly thorny and is prone to the cedar-rust diseases.

  • 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 Medium tree (25-40 feet)
  • Mature height 25-30 feet
  • Mature width 20-25 feet
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 3, Zone 4, Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7, Zone 8
  • Soil preference Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil, clay soil, Dry sites, Wet sites
  • Season of interest mid spring, late summer, early fall, mid fall
  • Flower color and fragrance White
  • Shape or form Oval, Round
  • Growth rate Moderate
  • Transplants well Yes
  • Planting considerations Dangerous thorns
  • Wildlife Game birds, Migrant birds, Songbirds
  • Has cultivars Yes

Native geographic location and habitat: 

Washington hawthorn is native from Missouri to the East coast and from Michigan to Florida.

Bark color and texture: 

The bark is rough and becomes slightly shaggy with age. This plant has thorns on the stems.

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

The simple, alternate leaves are 1 to 3 inches long with three to five lobes. They are triangular with toothed margins. The leaves are dark green in summer, changing to red or purple in fall.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size: 

The small white flowers are held in broad, flat clusters appearing in late spring. The flowers are unpleasantly scented. 

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions: 

This tree yields persistent red fruits (pomes).


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

Make a gift