Crataegus mollis (Downy Hawthorn) is a deciduous tree or large shrub that belongs to the Rosaceae family. It is native to eastern North America and is known for its attractive flowers, thorny branches, and red berries. Here is some information about Crataegus mollis:
Appearance: Downy Hawthorn typically grows to a height of 4-8 meters (13-26 feet) and has a rounded to oval-shaped crown. The branches are often covered in thorns. The leaves are alternate, simple, and lobed with a serrated edge. They have a downy or hairy texture, giving the plant its common name.
Flowers: In spring, Downy Hawthorn produces clusters of fragrant, white or pinkish flowers. The flowers have five petals and are typically 2-3 centimeters (0.8-1.2 inches) in diameter. They attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies and provide a lovely display.
Fruits: Following the flowers, Downy Hawthorn produces small, round berries known as haws. The haws are initially green and turn bright red as they mature. They persist on the tree into late autumn or winter, providing a food source for birds and wildlife. The berries are also edible for humans and can be used in jams, jellies, or herbal teas.
Wildlife Value: The berries of Downy Hawthorn are highly attractive to birds, providing a valuable food source during the winter months. The thorny branches also offer cover and nesting sites for birds, making it beneficial for wildlife habitat.
Pruning: Pruning of Downy Hawthorn is generally not required. However, if needed, pruning can be done in late winter or early spring to remove any dead, damaged, or crossing branches.
Downy Hawthorn, Crataegus mollis, is a beautiful tree or large shrub that adds beauty and interest to gardens and landscapes. With its attractive flowers, colorful berries, and wildlife value, it is a popular choice for those seeking an ornamental and wildlife-friendly plant.