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Crataegus phaenopyrum - Washington Hawthorn

Scientific Name: Crataegus phaenopyrum (syn C. cordata)

Common Name: Washington Hawthorn

In March 1805, Thomas Jefferson ordered 4,000 thorns from the Thomas Main nursery, the first of several purchases of thorn plants for Monticello. The plants would serve as a live fence.1 Main called this particular species, which grew abundantly around Washington, the "American hedge thorn."2

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.

- Peggy Cornett, n.d., CHP Information Sheet

Further Sources


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