Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Cockspur Hawthorn
Crataegus crus-galli

Family: Rosaceae (ro-ZAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Crataegus (krah-TEE-gus) (Info)
Species: crus-galli (krus GAL-ee) (Info)

One vendor has this plant for sale.

4 members have or want this plant for trade.


20-30 ft. (6-9 m)

20-30 ft. (6-9 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:
Sun to Partial Shade

Seed is poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer


Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

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 herbaceous stem cuttings
From woody stem cuttings
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; stratify if sowing indoors

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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There are a total of 9 photos.
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2 positives
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Rickwebb On Jan 28, 2014, Rickwebb from Downingtown, PA wrote:

It is a pretty ornamental tree that spreads very wide like many hawthorns and it is best to give it lots of room. The small, shiny, dark green foliage is handsome and does not really get Cedar Rust Disease as is common among many American species. The white flowers in May are nice as are the red berries in late summer to January, but they are not an outstanding display. Birds and small mammals like the fruit. It gets a good orange or red fall color. It has very large, long thorns that are nasty, though they give a nice winter texture. There is a thornless variety that is C. crus-galli inermis. For a long time, it has been the second most sold hawthorn from nurseries in the Midwest and East, after the Washington.

Positive Hortensis On Mar 22, 2009, Hortensis from Hernando, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

I've come to appreciate this native tremendously. I wouldn't recommend deliberately planting Cockspur hawthorn for a barrier, though, unless it were rogue buffalo instead of nuisance children being kept out. The thorns are lethal--long, very stiff and straight, and very sharp. It's naturally low branching--to the ground, and planting it thus just could be considered creating a dangerous condition (something insurance companies hate and claimant attorneys love).

That said, there is a thornless selection available, and I keep the species on my property--and family, friends, and trespassers safe--by the simple means of limbing it up safely overhead.

But to why I like Cockspur hawthorn so much:
It's deciduous, but here in my Georgia garden it's the very last tree to lose its leaves and the very earliest to green up in spring, making it a pretty background for the spring garden and also for extending the gardening year into autumn. The leaves are glossy and attractive. (I've read about the various disease problems that go with it being a hawthorn, but they haven't been a problem yet.)
Its own white flowers are pretty and precede the leaves in earliest spring.
Tthe leaves turn orange before falling.
It's extremely tough and *drought tolerant* and can take a variety of conditions.
It has red berries and is a very good tree for bird food and shelter.
It's horizontal branching pattern is interesting in itself.

I highly recommend it as long as it's kept "high."

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

Rarer in the garden than its non thorn variety.

Neutral mystic On Aug 19, 2001, mystic from Ewing, KY (Zone 6a) wrote:

This is a flat topped tree with a stratified branching habit and 3-inch spines. Tolerance to shearing makes this an excellent barrier plant. The white, half inch flowers are present in May or June. The red fruit stay into winter and follow the orange to red fall color display. Grows to 25ft with a 30ft spread


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

Morrilton, Arkansas
Denver, Colorado
Gainesville, Georgia
Champaign, Illinois
Wheaton, Illinois
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Perry, Ohio
Downingtown, Pennsylvania
Fort Worth, Texas

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