Crataegus punctata var. aurea (Dotted Hawthorn, Yellow Dotted Hawthorn) is a variety of hawthorn belonging to the Crataegus genus. This deciduous shrub or small tree is known for its distinctive yellowish-green leaves with conspicuous dark dots or markings.
Appearance: Dotted Hawthorn typically grows as a small to medium-sized tree, reaching heights of about 15 to 25 feet (4.5 to 7.6 meters) with a similar spread. It has a rounded to oval crown and branches covered in thorns.
Leaves: One of the most striking features of Dotted Hawthorn is its leaves. The leaves are broad, yellowish-green, and prominently marked with dark dots or spots, giving the plant its common name. The dots are typically concentrated along the veins of the leaves.
Flowers: In late spring to early summer, Dotted Hawthorn produces clusters of small, white to pinkish-white flowers. These fragrant flowers attract pollinators like bees and butterflies.
Fruit: The fruit of Dotted Hawthorn is a small, round, and red to orange-red berry known as a haw. While the haws are not typically consumed by humans, they are an important food source for birds and wildlife.
Thorns: Dotted Hawthorn, like many hawthorn species, is known for its sharp thorns, which are found along its branches and provide protection for the plant.
Habitat: Dotted Hawthorn is adaptable to a variety of soil types and growing conditions. It is often found in woodlands, hedgerows, and along the edges of fields.
Cultural Use: Dotted Hawthorn is appreciated for its ornamental qualities, particularly the unique appearance of its leaves. It is sometimes grown in gardens and landscapes for its unusual foliage.
Wildlife: The fruit of Dotted Hawthorn, the haws, are a valuable food source for birds and wildlife, making it a plant that can attract avian visitors to your garden.
Maintenance: Dotted Hawthorn is generally low-maintenance. Pruning can be done to shape the tree or shrub, remove dead or overcrowded branches, or control its size. Care should be taken when handling the plant due to its sharp thorns.
Dotted Hawthorn stands out for its distinctive leaves with dark dots, which give it a unique and eye-catching appearance. While its fruit may not be commonly consumed by humans, it provides valuable sustenance for wildlife. Whether grown for its ornamental value, as a source of food for birds, or for its intriguing foliage, Dotted Hawthorn is a valuable addition to gardens and landscapes.