Tennessee Smart Yards Native Plants

A comprehensive database of Tennessee native plants

Downy Hawthorn

Downy Hawthorn

Crataegus mollis

Full sun; medium to moderately dry moisture level; prefers fertile loam soil but tolerates moderately coarse sandy and gravelly loams, medium loams to fine silty clay loams and clay; pH adaptable.

20-40 feet height by 20-35 feet spread; white flowers with pale yellow anthers in early spring; globular, apple-like berry, ¾ to 1 inch in diameter, in drooping open clusters in late summer.

Growth Rate: Slow

Maintenance: Frequent disease problems (fire blight, rust, mildew) and insect problems (borers, tent caterpillars, miners). Leaves often badly infected by rust.

Propagation: Seed germination code E. 70-77 degrees F for 120 days and then 41 degrees F. for 135 days

Native Region: Only found in 6 counties – Stewart, Montgomery, Humphreys, Sumner, Davidson and Lawrence

An attractive, small tree with showy fruit and flowers and fuzzy leaves. Has a low canopy with a typical clearance of 4 feet from the ground   One of the earliest flowering hawthorns. Flowers have a musky, unappealing scent, and tree has thorns. Fruit drop can be messy and heavy, nearly covering the ground, so better used in a naturalized setting.  Outstanding yellow color in fall. Ideal choice for xeriscaping or a moisture-conserving landscape. Intolerant of dense shade cast by canopy trees.

Attracts birds, bees and butterflies. Birds and many mammals eat the fruit. Dense branching structure makes for good cover for nesting birds. Larval host for a number of hairstreak butterflies.

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