Tennessee Smart Yards Native Plants

A comprehensive database of Tennessee native plants

Cockspur Hawthorn

Cockspur Hawthorn

Crataegus crus-galli

Full sun; medium to dry moisture level; tolerates a wide range of soils including moderately coarse sandy or gravelly loams, medium loams to fine loamy sits and heavy clay; pH adaptable.

20-30 feet height by 20-35 feet spread; white flowers in dense, flat-topped clusters in spring; dull, dark red, apple-like berries, 3/8 – ¼ inch diameter, in fall.

Growth Rate: Slow

Maintenance: Frequent disease problems (fire blight, rust, mildew and scab) and frequent insect problems (aphids, borers, miners)

Propagation: Difficult from seed. Immerse seed in sulfuric acid for 2-3 hours followed by warm stratification at 70-77 degrees F for 120 days followed by 135 days at 41 degrees F.

Native Region: Scattered statewide

Broad, rounded, low-branched tree with wide-spreading horizontal branches. Widely used in landscaping because of its toughness and attractive glossy leaves. Has fierce, recurved thorns up to 2 inches long, which are a problem for pedestrian areas or children. Good for property borders or hedge rows. Good scarlet-orange fall color. Can tolerate some shade and some drought. Adaptable to poor soils. Thornless cultivars available.

Attracts birds, bees and butterflies. Only a few birds like the fruits so they remain on the tree for an extended time and are generally eaten during winter and early spring when more desirable fruits of other species are gone. Excellent cover and nesting site for many smaller birds. Larval host for a number of hairstreak butterflies and some moths.


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