Washington Hawthorn- Crataegus phaenopyrum, is a small native tree that blooms heavily in early June. A concentrated bloom makes it very attractive to honeybees and other pollinators. It can reach a height of 25′ to 30′ and spread to 20′ wide. Being a Hawthorn, it does have thorny branches which make it a favorite for nesting songbirds. It has a nice form and is an appropriate tree for a small lot or near powerlines.
It is attractive enough to be a specimen tree or focal point of a garden or yard. It works well in civic plantings in parks and on public grounds. Parking lots and traffic islands are also good locations. It can also be trimmed into a thorny hedge and has been used as an attractive security feature.
Early summer bloom and summer shade recommend this tree. The bloom is intense with masses of creamy white flowers. The flowers are fragrant but not pleasantly so.
Fall and winter are the season this tree shines. Fall color ranges from orange to red to purple interspersed with bright glossy red fruit. The red fruit will linger through the winter months and glows along with the shaggy bark as winter birds will feed upon them. They are an important food source for spring migrating Robins as well as overwintering Mockingbirds and Cedar Waxwings.
The trees prefer good drainage and show some drought tolerance. It is overall a very adaptable tree that will thrive on a wide variety of sites and soil conditions. They are a native tree and are susceptible to some rusts and fungal diseases. Among Hawthorns it is one of the most disease resistant. Fruit is toxic to dogs.
The tree was first commercially grown near Washington DC in the 1700’s. This is where the name Washington Hawthorn came from
Hardy in zones 3 to 8. It performs better in zones 7 and north