Crataegus succulenta (Fleshy Hawthorn) is a deciduous tree or shrub that belongs to the Rosaceae family. Fleshy Hawthorn typically grows to a height of 4-6 meters (13-20 feet) and has a rounded to irregular crown. The branches may have thorns, which can vary in size and density depending on the variety. The leaves are alternate, lobed, and have serrated edges. They are typically medium to dark green and turn shades of yellow, orange, or red in the fall.
Flowers: In spring, Fleshy Hawthorn produces clusters of white flowers. The flowers have five petals and are often fragrant. They attract pollinators, such as bees and butterflies, and provide a lovely display.
Fruits: Following the flowers, Fleshy Hawthorn produces small, fleshy fruits called haws. The haws are typically red or orange in color and have a juicy, succulent texture. They persist on the tree into late autumn or winter and provide a food source for birds and wildlife. The haws are edible for humans as well and can be used in jams, jellies, or other culinary applications.
Landscape Use: Fleshy Hawthorn is valued for its ornamental qualities and is often used in native plantings, wildlife gardens, or naturalized areas. It can also be planted as a specimen tree or in mixed borders. Its attractive flowers, colorful fruits, and fall foliage make it visually appealing throughout the seasons.
Growing Conditions: Fleshy Hawthorn prefers full sun to partial shade and well-drained soil. It can tolerate a range of soil types, including sandy, loamy, or clay soils. It is relatively adaptable and can tolerate both dry and moist conditions. Once established, it is generally low-maintenance and requires minimal pruning.
Wildlife Value: The fruits of Fleshy Hawthorn are highly attractive to birds, providing a valuable food source during the winter months. The dense branching structure also offers cover and nesting sites for birds, making it beneficial for wildlife habitat.
Fleshy Hawthorn, Crataegus succulenta, is a beautiful tree or shrub that adds beauty and ecological value to natural areas and gardens. With its attractive flowers, colorful and succulent fruits, and wildlife value, it is a popular choice for those seeking a native plant that supports local ecosystems.