General: It is a shrub or small tree that grows to twenty feet high and eight inches DBH and sharply thorny. Leaves are broadest above the middle, shallowly lobed, serrate margin, and hairy. Flowers are white, generally in clusters of three to five. Fruits are broadest above the middle or rounded, brown to yellow in color.
Distribution: Yellowleaf hawthorn grows widely in the southeastern U.S., from Virginia to Florida. For current distribution, please consult the Plant profile page for this species on the PLANTS Web site.
Yellow hawthorn, southern haw, summer haw, and yellow-fruited thorn
Regularity: Regularly occurring
Although yellowleaf hawthorn will succeed in partial shade and different soil types, it grows best in full sunlight, in dry soil of rocky areas, well-drained sandy soils. It will tolerate wet soils before becoming drought tolerant once established. It is wind tolerant making it a good tree species in shelterbelt planting. Yellowleaf hawthorn is tolerant of atmospheric pollution and performs well in urban settings.
Propagation from Seed or Grafting: Yellowleaf hawthorn can be propagated by either seeds or grafting. Successful propagation using seeds requires acid scarification followed by warm stratification and prechilling. Seeds are planted early in the fall, in drill rows eight to twelve inches apart and covered with 1/4 inch of soil. Seedlings must not be kept in the nursery longer than a year.
Containerized trees should be planted when they are no more than eight feet tall, in the fall or spring. Balled and burlapped trees should be planted in early spring.
Grafting on seedling stock of Crataegus oxyacantha or Crataegus monogyna is best carried out in the winter to early spring.
National NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked
NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure
Please consult the Plants Web site and your State Department of Natural Resources for this plant’s current status, such as, state noxious status, and wetland indicator values.
Pests and potential problems
Although pests and diseases seldom affect it, it is susceptible to fireblight, cedar-hawthorn rust, cedar-quince rust, leaf blight and fruit rot, and leaf spot.
Cultivars, improved and selected materials (and area of origin)
Consult you local nurseries to choose the right cultivar for your specific landscape. Contact your local Natural Resources Conservation Service (formerly Soil Conservation Service) office for more information. Look in the phone book under ”United States Government.” The Natural Resources Conservation Service will be listed under the subheading “Department of Agriculture.”
Pruning should be done in the winter or early spring in order to maintain a clear shoot leader on young trees and/or remove the weakest branches to allow more light to pass through. Suckers or stems arising from the roots should be removed when they become noticeable.
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
Erosion Control: Because it tolerates a wide variety of sites, it can be planted to stabilize banks, for shelterbelts, and for erosion control.
Timber: Although the wood is hard and strong, it has no commercial value except for tool handles and other small items. Fruits are useful for jellies.
Wildlife: It provides excellent food and cover for wildlife.
Beautification: Excellent for environmental plantings including small specimen tree, shrub border.
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