Washington Hawthorn

Common Name: Washington Hawthorn[1]

Scientific Name: Crataegus phaenopyrum (syn. C. cordata)

In 1805, Thomas Jefferson ordered 4,000 thorns from the Thomas Main nursery to plant at Monticello as a live fence.[2] Main called this particular species the "American hedge thorn" and it grew abundantly around Washington.[3]

This highly ornamental member of the rose family grows from Canada through the Southeastern United States and was introduced into Europe by 1738. The thorny branches and dense habit provide good habitat for birds and wildlife. It is a deciduous, spring flowering, North American tree with clusters of white flowers followed by spherical, glossy, bright red fruits and maple-like, deeply 3-lobed leaves turning orange to red in autumn.


  1. This article is based on a Center for Historic Plants Information Sheet.
  2. 22 March 1805. Betts, Garden Book, 299.
  3. Ann Leighton, American Gardens in the Eighteenth Century (Amherst: The University of Massachusetts Press, 1986), 412.

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