Hawthorn trees (Crataegus spp.) are deciduous or evergreen shrubs or small trees native to the temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. They are prized for their beauty, including their attractive flowers, berries, and thorns. There are over 1000 species of hawthorn, but some of the most common include:
English hawthorn (Crataegus laevigata)
Midland hawthorn (Crataegus laevigata x Crataegus monogyna)
Washington hawthorn (Crataegus phaenopyrum)
Hawthorn trees reach 10-30 feet tall with a spreading crown and dense, thorny form that makes them ideal for use as hedges or screen plants. The 5-petaled flowers are white or pink and often followed by red or orange berries. Simple, lobed leaves are usually green but can turn yellow or red in the fall. They prefer well-drained soils and full sun but adapt to a range of growing conditions, including poor soils and urban areas. Hawthorn trees are hardy and resist pests and diseases, although some species may be susceptible to fire blight, apple scab, and cedar-hawthorn rust.
Wildlife love hawthorn trees for their stunning white or pale pink blooms that attract insects, and their red berries that lure birds. Thorny spikes on the inner branches and twigs provide protection for insects and birds. Hawthorns grow to about 20m height, although 15m is more common. They are deciduous and grow green leaves in the spring that turn yellow before falling in the autumn.
Your tree will be planted on our nature reserve in Devon.
Hawthorn trees provide a home and food source for over 250 species of insects, small mammals like dormice, and birds like redwings, thrushes, and fieldfares. Hedgerows often trim hawthorn trees before the berries can bloom, so planting them helps ensure a food source for migrating birds.
Find out more about hawthorn trees
View more trees in our Gift a Tree shop