Oregon State University
Alphabetical List of Tree Common Names Alphabetical List of Tree Scientific Names Identification Key Mystery Tree

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Hawthorn (Crataegus)


  • Branches often have sharp, woody thorns.
  • Small, colorful, apple-like fruits.
  • Leaves are small, simple, alternate, and deciduous, with serrated edges (often lobed).
  • Leaves commonly have a leafy flange along their stalk.
  • May grow as a small tree or shrubs in dense stands.


Hawthorn is a large and diverse group of trees. Literally hundreds of different species and varieties have been developed for ornamental planting. Perhaps the most distinctive features of hawthorns are sharp woody thorns and small, colorful, apple-like fruits. Hawthorns are commonly planted because of their beautiful flower clusters and their colorful fruit.

Two species of hawthorn are native to Oregon, although others have been distributed far-and-wide by birds and humans. The two Oregon natives are relatively easy to tell from one another when they have fruit, but may be difficult at other times.

black hawthorn: tree or shrub; black fruit; thorns usually shorter than 1".

Columbia hawthorn: only grows as a shrub; red fruit; thorns usually longer than 1" (will not be described further)


For more information on the cherries and plums native to the Pacific Northwest, go to the species page or see "Trees to Know in Oregon".

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