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PlantFiles: Thornless Cockspur Hawthorn
Crataegus crus-galli var. inermis

Family: Rosaceae (ro-ZAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Crataegus (krah-TEE-gus) (Info)
Species: crus-galli var. inermis

One vendor has this plant for sale.


15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade

Seed is poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer


Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From woody stem cuttings
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; stratify if sowing indoors

Seed Collecting:
Collect seedhead/pod when flowers fade; allow to dry

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1 positive
2 neutrals
2 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Negative chris_h On Sep 22, 2014, chris_h from Waukegan, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:

This is a beautiful tree when it's healthy. But this was my third year and it's way too much trouble to keep this tree looking good all season here in northeastern Illinois. The first year it developed a horrifying case of cedar rust. Every single berry was covered with orange tube like growths. The second year we sprayed with the recommended fungicide several times. It was much better that year with only a slight damage. This year we forgot to begin spraying until we noticed the first appearance of the rust. Spraying every two weeks did control the spread of the rust fairly well but the berries are stunted and many have hardened and blackened. In July we began to notice a few leaves turning bright yellow. As we examined the tree closely we found masses of white mealy bugs (actually known as "Hawthorn mealy bugs") along the underside of most of the branches...ick! By mid September the tree was spotted all over with the yellow leaves and some are already falling.

I chose this tree primarily because its berries were supposed to attract birds but I have never seen any bird eat even a single berry from this tree.

With the rust and the spraying and the bugs etc., we are reluctantly ready to remove the hawthorn and replace it with something different.

Negative pastapicker On Dec 6, 2010, pastapicker from Columbus, OH wrote:

I've not been able to control the cedar-quince rust on my 2 trees, despite good sanitation and spraying, so they have failed to provide the decorative and bird-friendly reasons that I planted them. Eastern red cedar is very common here in the wild; I suppose that is a large part of the reason for no control. There are many hawthorns in the downtown area of my city that don't seem to have this problem; their red berries in winter are spectacular. I've not been able to find out what cultivar they are--the city doesn't know.

My 2 specimens have also produced thorned branches and one of them tends to sucker from the base.

Edited to add: I gave myself 2 years of being maximally aggressive to control the rust -- spraying early and frequently with 3 different preparations -- removed all the junipers and cedars from the yard-- and even drastically pruned the trees to remove all visible signs of infection (trying to break the cycle of transmission) -- all to no avail. This year they still had it. I removed the trees.

Neutral jackieelliemae On May 19, 2008, jackieelliemae from Plattsmouth, NE wrote:

I love the look of this small tree; however the cedar apple rust is of concern to me. Does anyone know how to appropriately spray for control? I'm in an area with lots of naturalized cedars.

Neutral Malus2006 On Apr 4, 2008, Malus2006 from Coon Rapids, MN (Zone 4a) wrote:

Becoming more commonly planted. During winter its branch patterns tell it apart from crabapples and other Apple Family members. Have no thorns - the standard species have 3 inches long thorns.

Positive bigcityal On Dec 11, 2005, bigcityal from Menasha, WI (Zone 5a) wrote:

Very nice dark green waxy leaves. Flowering is fair - not as much as crabapples. Leaf miner and cedar apple rust common. Nice horizontal sort of oriental appeal to the tree.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Morrilton, Arkansas
San Bruno, California
Waukegan, Illinois
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Plattsmouth, Nebraska
Columbus, Ohio
Menasha, Wisconsin

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