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Downy Hawthorn (Crataegus mollis)

Research conducted by: Julia Noureddine and Diana Baydoun, Grosse Ile High School Students

 

General Characteristics:  

Its habitats include prairies, lake shores, brushy thickets, forest margins, river banks and ravines, in dry to moist soils.
● Leaves are alternate, 2½ to 5 inches long, 2 to 5 inches wide, broadly egg-shaped to nearly      round in outline, mostly widest near the base, blunt to pointed at the tip 
●    Fruit is berry-like, round, ½ to nearly 1 inch diameter, dull scarlet to crimson red at maturity.
●    The flowers are flat-topped, branching clusters of 5 to 17 flowers at tips of branch twigs, emerging after the leaves in mid to late spring. Flowers are ¾ to 1 inch across with 5 round white petals. In the center are 17 to 20 stamens with white tips
●    Mature bark is thin, gray to gray-brown and splits into narrow plates.

Commercial Value:  

The fruit is used for making jellies, preserves, and teas
●    The fruits and flowers of many hawthorns are well-known in herbal folk medicine as a heart tonic
●    The plant is tolerant of being trimmed and will even resprout if cut back into very old wood. It can be used as a hedge
●    Useful for making tool handles, mallets and other small items

 

Wildlife Value:  

● Nature Attracting - Pollinators/Beneficial Insects
Wildlife Benefit - Cover, Food/Birds, Food/Small Animals, Nesting

● The Downy Hawthorn and pollinators like hummingbirds, butterflies and others nectar from the blooms of the plant. This benefits the plant by receiving pollen intake while also benefiting the pollinators by providing them with a source of pollen. This relationship is symbiotic because they both contribute to each other and benefit from its uses.

Interesting Tidbits:  

●    It is very drought tolerant 
●    Can adapt to many different types of soils
●    Is prone to cedar rust diseases
●    It is a multi stemmed tree 
●    It’s fruits are used in medicine 

 

Citations 
●    https://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?Latin Name=Crataegus+mollis
●    https://www.minnesotawildflowers.info/tree/downy-hawthorn

    

North Carolina Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox

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