Washington Hawthorn

wpe9.jpg (43734 bytes)

wpe8.jpg (50298 bytes)

Washington Hawthorn

Washington Hawthorn

Washington Hawthorn

Washington Hawthorn



Washington Hawthorn

(Crataegus phaenopyrum)

Interesting Information About Plant:

     The Latin word Crataegus means hardness or strength and phaenopyrum means ‘with the appearance of a pear’.  The common name, Hawthorn, comes from ‘haw’, which means hedge in Old English.  The common name literally means thorny hedge.  The Washington Hawthorn is the largest of all the Hawthorns and was introduced to the United States from Europe in the late 1700s.  It is often multi-trunked and its flowers give off a strong, sweet smell in late spring.  Its leaves go from reddish-purple to dark green to orange and finally to scarlet or purple as the year goes by.       “Hawthorn is most commonly used to treat heart disease and to treat and prevent cardiovascular disorders. Herbalists consider hawthorn to be the world's best heart tonic. It increases blood flow to the heart by dilating the coronary arteries; lowers blood pressure and eases the heart's workload by dilating arteries in the arms and legs; and increases the force of the heart's contractions. In Europe, hawthorn leaf has been scientifically proven to expand the blood vessels and let more oxygen-rich blood reach the heart muscles; increase the strength of the heartbeat and slightly increase its speed; and help the heart by reducing resistance throughout the rest of the circulatory system. Hawthorn leaf is used for angina and weak heart.

     Hawthorn is also a powerful antioxidant. There is strong evidence that antioxidants lower the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and deaths from heart diseases, but this has not been proven in studies. Antioxidants are believed to help the coronary arteries dilate and increase blood flow to the heart. They may prevent blockages from coming back after a surgical procedure called angioplasty…. Hawthorn is also drunk for insomnia and nervous conditions and used as a gargle for sore throats. In folk medicine, hawthorn is used as a heart tonic and treatment, to regulate blood pressure, and as a sedative, but it hasn't been proven to be effective for any of these ailments,”  (Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine).

Scientific Name: Crataegus phaenopyrum

Family Name (Scientific and Common): Rosaceae (Rose)

Continent of Origin: Mediterranean region

Height at Maturity?: More than 10 Feet

Life Span?: Perennial

Seasonal Habit?: Deciduous Perennial

Growth Habitat?: Full or Partial Sun

Manner of Culture?: Landscape Tree or a Native Species 

Thorns on Younger Stem?: No

Cross Section of Younger Stem?: Roundish  

Stem (or Trunk) Diameter?: More Than The Diameter of a Coffee-Mug 

Produces Brownish Bark?: Yes 

Bark Peeling in Many Areas?: Yes 

Characteristics of Mature (Brownish) Bark?: Lines Go Up-Down  

Type of Leaf?: Flat, Thin Leaf  

Length of Leaf (or Leaflet)?: Less than Length of a Credit Card

Leaf Complexity?: Simple

Shape of Leaf?: Simple   

Edge of Leaf?: Serrated

Leaf Arrangement?: Alternate 

Leaf has Petiole?: Yes 

Patterns of Main-Veins?: Palmate

Leaf Hairiness?: No Hairs

Color of Foliage in Summer?: Green 

Change in Color of Foliage in October?: Changes to Reddish-Orange

Flowering Season?: Spring

Flowers?: Tightly Clustered 

Type of Flower?: Colorful Flower

Color of Flower?: White / Yellow 

Shape of Individual Flower?: Radially Symmetrical

Size of Individual Flower?: Smaller than a Quarter 

Sexuality?: Hermaphroditic Flower  

Size of Fruit?: Smaller than a Quarter 

Fruit Fleshiness?: Fleshy 

Shape of Fruit?: Acorn-like

Color of Fruit at Maturity?: Red   

Fruit Desirable to Birds or Squirrels?: Yes   

Common Name(s): Washington Hawthorn                 

Louisville Plants That Are Most Easily Confused With This One?: Other Hawthorn species and hybrids, Crab Apple trees, and the berries are confused with those of the Holly.

Unique Morphological Features of Plant? Prickly thorns that grow to around 3 inches.

Poisonous? Part of the Plant (the fruit is poisonous to human beings)

Pesty Plant (weedy, hard to control)? No



Washington Hawthorn



Information - 502.452.8000
© Bellarmine University, Louisville, KY 2002-2004