Overview

Comprehensive Description

Comments

Downy Hawthorn is one of the more common Crataegus spp. (hawthorns) in Illinois, particularly in the northern half of the state. It is relatively easy to recognize (for a hawthorn) because of its pubescent leaves, pubescent shoots, and pubescent immature fruits. The showy fruits of this species are among the first to mature among hawthorns, although they remain on the tree for only a short time before falling to the ground. The edible fruits have a pleasant flavor, although they are seedy. Across its range, there is some variability in the shape of the leaves and other characteristics of this small tree or shrub. As a result, many former species (Crataegus altrix, C. declivitatis, C. lanigeraC. nupera, C. pachyphylla, C. ridwayi, C. sera, C. umbrosa, C. valens, C. verna, and C. verosa) are now regarded as different forms of Crataegus mollis (Downy Hawthorn).
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Description

This large shrub or small tree is 20-35' tall at maturity. It is has either a single or multiple trunks (usually the former) and a densely branched globoid crown. The trunk (or trunks) is relatively short, spanning 1-1½' across at maturity. Trunk bark is gray-brown, rough-textured, shallowly furrowed, and divided into irregular scaly plates. Branch bark is gray and more smooth, while twigs are brown with white lenticels. Young non-woody shoots are light green and pubescent. Relatively few thorns develop along the branches; they are 1-2" long, light gray to nearly black, and usually straight. Alternate deciduous leaves occur along the twigs and young shoots; they are 2-5" long and 2-4" across. Individual leaves are oval in outline and they are shallowly cleft with 3-5 lobes along both sides of their margins. The lobes are usually bluntly pointed, rather than rounded. The margins are serrated or doubly serrated. Leaf bases are slightly cordate to truncate. The upper leaf surface is medium or yellowish green and rough-textured from sparse stiff hairs; the lower surface is pale green and pubescent, especially along the lower sides of the veins. The slender petioles are ¾-2" long, light green to reddish green, and pubescent. At the base of each petiole, there is pair of linear-lanceolate stipules (up to ¼" long) that have serrated margins. Small corymbs of white flowers are produced from short spur twigs; these corymbs span about 1½-3" across and they are rather flat-headed. The flowering stalks of the corymbs are light to reddish green and pubescent. Individual flowers are about 1" across, consisting of 5 white spreading petals, 5 green sepals that are united at the base, 20 stamens with pale yellow anthers, and an inferior ovary with 4-5 styles. Individual sepals are narrowly lanceolate in shape; they have conspicuous glandular teeth. The blooming period occurs for about 2 weeks during late spring; the flowers have an unpleasant odor. Fertile flowers are replaced by small globoid pomes (apple-like fruits) that become ¾-1" across at maturity during late summer. Young pomes are light green and pubescent, while mature pomes are yellowish red to scarlet and hairless (or nearly so). The interior of each mature pome contains firm flesh that is pale yellow and slightly juicy; it has an apple-like sweet-tart flavor. Each pome also contains 4-5 chunky seeds. The root system is woody and branching. Downy Hawthorn spreads by reseeding itself.
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Distribution

Range and Habitat in Illinois

The native Downy Hawthorn is common in the northern half of Illinois, while in the southern half of the state it is occasional or absent (see Distribution Map). Habitats include openings in bottomland woodlands, mesic savannas, woodland borders, thickets, banks of rivers, and abandoned pastures. Downy Hawthorn is a pioneer species that is intolerant of the dense shade that is cast by canopy trees. It is rarely cultivated as a landscape shrub or tree.
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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Unknown/Undetermined

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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Physical Description

Type Information

Syntype for Crataegus cibaria Beadle
Catalog Number: US 969315
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Original publication and alleged type specimen examined
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): ex herb. Biltmore
Locality: West Nashville., Tennessee, United States, North America
  • Syntype: Beadle, C. D. 1902. Biltmore Bot. Stud. 1: 120.
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Syntype for Crataegus gravida Beadle
Catalog Number: US 969300
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Original publication and alleged type specimen examined
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): ex herb. Biltmore
Locality: Near Nashville., Davidson, Tennessee, United States, North America
  • Syntype: Beadle, C. D. 1902. Biltmore Bot. Stud. 1: 119.
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Syntype for Crataegus cibaria Beadle
Catalog Number: US 969314
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Original publication and alleged type specimen examined
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): ex herb. Biltmore
Locality: Near Nashville., Davidson, Tennessee, United States, North America
  • Syntype: Beadle, C. D. 1902. Biltmore Bot. Stud. 1: 120.
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Syntype for Crataegus cibaria Beadle
Catalog Number: US 969316
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Original publication and alleged type specimen examined
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): ex herb. Biltmore
Locality: Near Nashville., Davidson, Tennessee, United States, North America
  • Syntype: Beadle, C. D. 1902. Biltmore Bot. Stud. 1: 120.
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Syntype for Crataegus cibaria Beadle
Catalog Number: US 969317
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Original publication and alleged type specimen examined
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): ex herb. Biltmore
Year Collected: 1900
Locality: Near Nashville., Davidson, Tennessee, United States, North America
  • Syntype: Beadle, C. D. 1902. Biltmore Bot. Stud. 1: 120.
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Isotype for Crataegus mollis var. gigantea Kruschke
Catalog Number: US 2865447
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): E. Kruschke
Year Collected: 1946
Locality: Milwaukee at Hawthorn Glen, W. State St. and N. Hawley Rd. at Menomonee River Valley., Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States, North America
  • Isotype: Kruschke, E. P. 1965. Milwaukee Public Mus. Publ. Bot. 3: 131.
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Isotype for Crataegus mollis var. gigantea Kruschke
Catalog Number: US 2865446
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): E. Kruschke
Year Collected: 1946
Locality: Milwaukee at Hawthorn Glen, W. State St. and N. Hawley Rd. at Menomonee River Valley., Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States, North America
  • Isotype: Kruschke, E. P. 1965. Milwaukee Public Mus. Publ. Bot. 3: 131.
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Isotype for Crataegus mollis var. gigantea Kruschke
Catalog Number: US 2865445
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): E. Kruschke
Year Collected: 1946
Locality: Milwaukee at Hawthorn Glen, W. State St. and N. Hawley Rd. at Menomonee River Valley., Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States, North America
  • Isotype: Kruschke, E. P. 1965. Milwaukee Public Mus. Publ. Bot. 3: 131.
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Isotype for Crataegus mollis var. incisifolia Kruschke
Catalog Number: US 2865418
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): E. Kruschke
Year Collected: 1947
Locality: West of Avon, along Sugar River., Rock, Wisconsin, United States, North America
  • Isotype: Kruschke, E. P. 1965. Milwaukee Public Mus. Publ. Bot. 3: 126.
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Isotype for Crataegus mollis var. incisifolia Kruschke
Catalog Number: US 2865417
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): E. Kruschke
Year Collected: 1947
Locality: West of Avon, along Sugar River., Rock, Wisconsin, United States, North America
  • Isotype: Kruschke, E. P. 1965. Milwaukee Public Mus. Publ. Bot. 3: 126.
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Ecology

Habitat

Range and Habitat in Illinois

The native Downy Hawthorn is common in the northern half of Illinois, while in the southern half of the state it is occasional or absent (see Distribution Map). Habitats include openings in bottomland woodlands, mesic savannas, woodland borders, thickets, banks of rivers, and abandoned pastures. Downy Hawthorn is a pioneer species that is intolerant of the dense shade that is cast by canopy trees. It is rarely cultivated as a landscape shrub or tree.
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Associations

Faunal Associations

The nectar and pollen of the flowers attract primarily small bees (Halictid & Andrenid), flies (Syrphid, Calliphorid, Muscid, etc.), and miscellaneous beetles. Other insects feed on the foliage, flowers, plant juices, or wood of Crataegus spp. (Hawthorns). These species include caterpillars of the butterfly, Satyrium liparops strigosum (Striped Hairstreak), caterpillars of the moth Catocala crataegi (Hawthorn Underwing), and several other moths (see Moth Table). Other insect feeders include Eriosoma crataegi (Woolly Hawthorn Aphid) and other aphids, Glossonotus crataegi (Quince Treehopper), Corythucha cydonia (Hawthorn Lace Bug), Lygidea mendax (Apple Red Bug) and other plant bugs, the flea beetle Crepidodera violacea, the larvae of Saperda fayi (Thorn Limb Borer) and other long-horned beetles, and Anthonomus nebulosus (Hawthorn Blossum Weevil). Hawthorns are preferred host plants of several leafhoppers
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Flower-Visiting Insects of Downy Hawthorn in Illinois

Crataegus mollis (Downy Hawthorn)
(Bees suck nectar or collect pollen, other insects suck nectar; one observation is from Krombein et al. as indicated below, otherwise observations are from Robertson)

Bees (long-tongued)
Apidae (Apinae): Apis mellifera sn cp fq; Apidae (Bombini): Bombus pensylvanica sn; Anthophoridae (Ceratinini): Ceratina dupla dupla sn; Anthophoridae (Eucerini): Synhalonia speciosa sn

Bees (short-tongued)
Halictidae (Halictinae): Augochlorella striata sn cp, Augochloropsis metallica metallica sn, Halictus confusus sn cp fq, Halictus rubicunda sn cp fq, Lasioglossum cinctipes sn cp, Lasioglossum cressonii sn, Lasioglossum foxii sn cp, Lasioglossum imitatus sn cp fq, Lasioglossum pectoralis sn cp fq, Lasioglossum pilosus pilosus sn cp, Lasioglossum versatus sn, Lasioglossum zephyrus sn cp fq; Colletidae (Colletinae): Colletes inaequalis sn; Andrenidae (Andreninae): Andrena crataegi sn fq, Andrena cressonii sn cp fq, Andrena dunningi sn cp fq, Andrena forbesii sn cp, Andrena hippotes sn, Andrena imitatrix imitatrix sn fq, Andrena mandibularis sn cp, Andrena miserabilis bipunctata sn fq, Andrena nasonii sn, Andrena nuda sn, Andrena personata (Kr), Andrena pruni sn cp, Andrena rugosa sn fq, Andrena sayi sn cp fq

Wasps
Vespidae: Polistes fuscata, Vespula germanica; Vespidae (Eumeninae): Ancistrocerus adiabatus

Flies
Syrphidae: Blera umbratilis, Brachypalpus oarus, Chalcosyrphus nemorum, Cheilosia punctulata, Chrysogaster antitheus, Eristalis dimidiatus, Eupeodes americanus, Helophilus fasciatus, Myolepta strigilata fq, Orthonevra pictipennis, Psilota buccata, Trichopsomyia apisaon; Empididae: Empis desiderata, Empis otiosa, Empis nuda, Rhamphomyia piligeronis, Rhamphomyia priapulus fq, Rhamphomyia sordida fq icp, Rhamphomyia tersa; Bombyliidae: Bombylius major; Conopidae: Myopa vesciculosa fq icp; Tachinidae: Phasia grandis; Calliphoridae: Calliphora vicina, Calliphora vomitoria, Cynomya cadaverina, Phormia regina; Muscidae: Morellia micans, Neomyia cornicina; Anthomyiidae: Delia platura

Butterflies
Nymphalidae: Polygonia interrogationis

Beetles
Cerambycidae: Molorchus bimaculatus; Chrysomelidae: Acalymma vittata, Disonycha sp.; Cleridae: Pelonides quadripunctatum; Oedemeridae: Asclera puncticollis; Scarabaeidae: Euphoria fulgida

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Crataegus mollis

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 7
Specimens with Barcodes: 13
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Cultivation

The preference is full or partial sun, moist to mesic conditions, and fertile loamy soil. However, other kinds of soil and drier conditions are also tolerated. The leaves of Downy Hawthorn are vulnerable to several foliar diseases, including cedar-hawthorn rust, scab, and leaf blight. As a result, the leaves are often battered from disease by the end of summer and usually succumb to premature leaf-drop.
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Wikipedia

Crataegus mollis

Crataegus mollis, known as Downy Hawthorn or Red Hawthorn, occurs in eastern North America from southeastern North Dakota east to Nova Scotia and southwest to eastern Texas. This tree inhabits wooded bottomlands, the prairie border, and the midwest savanna understorey.

This tree grows to 10–13 m high with a dense crown of thorny branches and an ash-grey trunk. The leaves are 5–10 cm in length and often drop in late summer due to defoliation by leaf diseases. The tree seems to suffer little from the early loss of its leaves. Among the earliest in the genus to bloom, Downy Hawthorn also has earliest ripening fruit, which decorate the defoliated tree in late summer and early fall. It is closely related to Crataegus submollis, but the two species have separate native ranges. Amongst other differences between these two species, C. submollis has approximately 10 stamens, whereas C. mollis has approximately 20 stamens per flower.[2]

The white flowers are borne in clusters at the end of the branches in spring. The bright red edible fruit ripens in late summer and early fall and falls soon after.

This species is a target of Gypsy moths. Leaf rusts and fireblight are among the many foliage diseases to affect this species. The sharp thorns are a hazard.[citation needed]

This species is uncommon in cultivation.

Images[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Phipps, J.B.; Robertson, K.R.; Smith, P.G.; Rohrer, J.R. (1990). A checklist of the subfamily Maloideae (Rosaceae). Canadian Journal of Botany. 68(10): 2209–2269.
  2. ^ Phipps, J.B., O’Kennon, R.J., Lance, R.W. (2003). Hawthorns and medlars. Royal Horticultural Society, Cambridge, U.K.
  • Sternberg, G. (2004). Native Trees for North American Landscapes pp. 264. Timber Press, Inc.
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