If you would like to support this site, please consider Donating.
Useful Temperate Plants

Crataegus aestivalis

(Walter) Torr. & A.Gray

Rosaceae


The taxonomy of Crataegus species has historically been very confused, with over 1,200 different species recognized by some authors in the past. This number has been gradually and very significantly reduced, especially since the publication of several regional studies carried out since the late 1980’s, and current thinking is that the final number could be below 150 distinct species[
1212
Title
New Trees
Publication
 
Author
Grimshaw J.; Bayton R.; Wilks H.
Publisher
Kew Publishing; London
Year
2009
ISBN
1842461737
Description
Provides comprehensive botanical descriptions and horticultural commentary on over 800 tree species that have been introduced to cultivation in recent decades.
]. Many of the genera that were included in this database prior to 2017 will now be treated as synonyms or subspecies, and it is likely that a number of other currently accepted species will also receive that fate once a complete revision of the genus (underway in 2015) has been published.

+ Synonyms

Mespilus aestivalis Walter

Crataegus cerasoides Sarg.

Crataegus fruticosus Sarg.

Crataegus luculenta Sarg.

Crataegus maloides Sarg.

Crataegus monantha Sarg.

Common Name: Eastern Mayhaw

No Image.

General Information

Crataegus aestivalis is a thorny, deciduous shrub or small tree with a rounded canopy; it usually grows 2 - 12 metres tall[
270
Title
Flora of N. America
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/fna/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line version of the flora with an excellent description of the plant including a brief mention of plant uses.
,
277
Title
Plants Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://plants.usda.gov/java/factSheet
Publisher
United States Department of Agriculture
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An online database with an excellent collection of fact sheets about native N. American plants.
].
The plant is a popular wild food, often used in conserves in southeastern N. America. It is harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine and source of materials. The fruit has gained in popularity and the plant is sometimes cultivated as a fruit crop and can also be grown in soil stabilization and shelterbelt plantings.

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

270
Title
Flora of N. America
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/fna/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line version of the flora with an excellent description of the plant including a brief mention of plant uses.

Range

South-eastern N. America - North Carolina to Florida, west to Mississippi

Habitat

Found on the outer coastal plain in seasonally flooded depressions, in floodplains or in uplands. It is commonly found in river swamps, pond areas, and along stream banks[
277
Title
Plants Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://plants.usda.gov/java/factSheet
Publisher
United States Department of Agriculture
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An online database with an excellent collection of fact sheets about native N. American plants.
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitDeciduous Shrub
Height8.00 m
Growth RateMedium
PollinatorsMidges
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Ornamental, Wild

Cultivation Details

Crataegus aestivalis is a very hardy species, tolerating temperatures down to about -30°c when dormant[
160
Title
Wonder Crops. 1987.
Publication
 
Author
Natural Food Institute,
Publisher
 
Year
 
ISBN
 
Description
Fascinating reading, this is an annual publication. Some reports do seem somewhat exaggerated though.
].
Crataegus species are generally very easily cultivated plants, growing best in full sun to medium shade and preferring a well-drained but moisture retentive loamy soil, though they are not usually fussy[
11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. This species also thrives in acid soils[
160
Title
Wonder Crops. 1987.
Publication
 
Author
Natural Food Institute,
Publisher
 
Year
 
ISBN
 
Description
Fascinating reading, this is an annual publication. Some reports do seem somewhat exaggerated though.
]. Once established, many species can tolerate a range of difficult conditions including drought; excessively moist soils; limy soils; exposed, windy, maritime conditions; and atmospheric pollution[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. Notes on the plants habitat above may give more ideas on this[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].
Crataegus aestivalis is occasionally cultivated for its fruit in America, there are some named varieties[
183
Title
Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications
Year
1990
ISBN
0-9628087-0-9
Description
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
]. A form that was once seen as distinct (as Crataegus cerasoides) has large, late-ripening fruit[
270
Title
Flora of N. America
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/fna/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line version of the flora with an excellent description of the plant including a brief mention of plant uses.
]. Another form (previously known as Crataegus monantha) is a dwarf form from northern Florida that could be used as a rootstock[
270
Title
Flora of N. America
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/fna/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line version of the flora with an excellent description of the plant including a brief mention of plant uses.
].
The plant has become a popular ornamental in N. America due to its showy white flowers, attractive foliage and ability to adapt to a variety of sites[
277
Title
Plants Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://plants.usda.gov/java/factSheet
Publisher
United States Department of Agriculture
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An online database with an excellent collection of fact sheets about native N. American plants.
].
This species is closely related to Crataegus opaca and is included in that species by some botanists.
Trees growing in a sunny position generally produce more and better quality fruit than trees growing in the shade[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].
Crataegus species often hybridize freely with other members of the genus[
11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. This statement is not fully accurate; at least in the wild most Crataegus species usually breed true and only occasionally hybridize - in addition, any hybrids are usually putative[
1257
Title
Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden Vol 92
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.mbgpress.org
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden; St. Louis, Missouri
Year
2005
ISBN
0026-6493
Description
A botanical journal, containing a range of articles
].
Many Crataegus species are very variable with regard to fruit size and quality. Seedlings, even if obtained from a good fruiting form, can often be disappointing - though they can also be an improvement on the original form. The most reliable way of obtaining a good fruiting form is by grafting from a known good tree, or obtaining a named cultivar from a reliable source[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].
Seedling trees take from 5 - 8 years before they start bearing fruit, though grafted trees will often flower heavily in their third year[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].
Seedlings should not be left in a seedbed for more than 2 years without being transplanted[
11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
].
The flowers have a foetid smell somewhat like decaying fish. This attracts midges which are the main means of fertilization. When freshly open, the flowers have more pleasant scent with balsamic undertones[
245
Title
Scented Flora of the World.
Publication
 
Author
Genders. R.
Publisher
Robert Hale. London.
Year
1994
ISBN
0-7090-5440-8
Description
An excellent, comprehensive book on scented plants giving a few other plant uses and brief cultivation details. There are no illustrations.
].

Edible Uses

Fruit - raw or cooked[
160
Title
Wonder Crops. 1987.
Publication
 
Author
Natural Food Institute,
Publisher
 
Year
 
ISBN
 
Description
Fascinating reading, this is an annual publication. Some reports do seem somewhat exaggerated though.
]. Juicy and acid with a pleasant flavour[
2
Title
Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World.
Publication
 
Author
Hedrick. U. P.
Publisher
Dover Publications
Year
1972
ISBN
0-486-20459-6
Description
Lots of entries, quite a lot of information in most entries and references.
]. The fruit is frequently used and much prized in parts of southern N. America where it is often gathered in quantity from the wild. Its acid flavour makes it a favourite for preserves and jellies[
82
Title
Manual of the Trees of N. America.
Publication
 
Author
Sargent. C. S.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/
Publisher
Dover Publications Inc. New York.
Year
1965
ISBN
0-486-20278-X
Description
Two volumes, a comprehensive listing of N. American trees though a bit out of date now. Good details on habitats, some details on plant uses. Not really for the casual reader. It can be downloaded from the internet.
,
183
Title
Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications
Year
1990
ISBN
0-9628087-0-9
Description
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
,
227
Title
Trees of North Texas
Publication
 
Author
Vines. R.A.
Publisher
University of Texas Press.
Year
1982
ISBN
0292780206
Description
A readable guide to the area, it contains descriptions of the plants and their habitats with quite a bit of information on plant uses.
]. The fruit can also be dried for later use. The red, occasionally yellow, globose is 8 - 20mm in diameter[227,270]. There are 4 - 5 fairly large seeds in the centre of the fruit, these often stick together and so the effect is of eating a cherry-like fruit with a single seed[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

Medicinal

The plant has been used as a tea (probably the flowers and fruit[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
]) in herbal folk medicine for the treatment of high blood pressure[
277
Title
Plants Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://plants.usda.gov/java/factSheet
Publisher
United States Department of Agriculture
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An online database with an excellent collection of fact sheets about native N. American plants.
].

Although no further specific mention has been seen for this species, the fruits and flowers of many hawthorns are well-known in herbal folk medicine as a heart tonic and modern research has borne out this use. The fruits and flowers have a hypotensive effect as well as acting as a direct and mild heart tonic[
222
Title
A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants. Eastern and Central N. America.
Publication
 
Author
Foster. S. & Duke. J. A.
Publisher
Houghton Mifflin Co.
Year
1990
ISBN
0395467225
Description
A concise book dealing with almost 500 species. A line drawing of each plant is included plus colour photographs of about 100 species. Very good as a field guide, it only gives brief details about the plants medicinal properties.
]. They are especially indicated in the treatment of weak heart combined with high blood pressure[
222
Title
A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants. Eastern and Central N. America.
Publication
 
Author
Foster. S. & Duke. J. A.
Publisher
Houghton Mifflin Co.
Year
1990
ISBN
0395467225
Description
A concise book dealing with almost 500 species. A line drawing of each plant is included plus colour photographs of about 100 species. Very good as a field guide, it only gives brief details about the plants medicinal properties.
]. Prolonged use is necessary for it to be efficacious[
222
Title
A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants. Eastern and Central N. America.
Publication
 
Author
Foster. S. & Duke. J. A.
Publisher
Houghton Mifflin Co.
Year
1990
ISBN
0395467225
Description
A concise book dealing with almost 500 species. A line drawing of each plant is included plus colour photographs of about 100 species. Very good as a field guide, it only gives brief details about the plants medicinal properties.
]. It is normally used either as a tea or a tincture[
222
Title
A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants. Eastern and Central N. America.
Publication
 
Author
Foster. S. & Duke. J. A.
Publisher
Houghton Mifflin Co.
Year
1990
ISBN
0395467225
Description
A concise book dealing with almost 500 species. A line drawing of each plant is included plus colour photographs of about 100 species. Very good as a field guide, it only gives brief details about the plants medicinal properties.
].

Agroforestry Uses:

Because it tolerates a wide variety of sites, this species can be used to stabilize stream banks, for shelterbelts, and to give protection from wind and water erosion[
277
Title
Plants Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://plants.usda.gov/java/factSheet
Publisher
United States Department of Agriculture
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An online database with an excellent collection of fact sheets about native N. American plants.
].

Other Uses

A dwarf form from northern Florida (previously known as Crataegus monantha) has potential for use as a rootstock[
270
Title
Flora of N. America
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/fna/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line version of the flora with an excellent description of the plant including a brief mention of plant uses.
].

The wood of Crataegus species is generally of good quality, though it is often of too small a size to be of much value. It usually has a red-brown heartwood with a thick band of lighter-coloured, usually pale sapwood. The wood is heavy, extremely hard, tough and close-grained. Where wood of suficient diameter is found it is often greatly prized for use in turnery, and has traditionally been used for purposes such as making tool handles, mallets and other small items[
82
Title
Manual of the Trees of N. America.
Publication
 
Author
Sargent. C. S.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/
Publisher
Dover Publications Inc. New York.
Year
1965
ISBN
0-486-20278-X
Description
Two volumes, a comprehensive listing of N. American trees though a bit out of date now. Good details on habitats, some details on plant uses. Not really for the casual reader. It can be downloaded from the internet.
,
1258
Title
Hawthorns and Medlars
Publication
 
Author
Phipps J.B.; O'Kennon R.J. & Lance R.W.
Publisher
Timber Press; Portland
Year
2003
ISBN
0-88192-591-8
Description
An excellent guide to some of the better known Crataegus species, plus quite a few less well-known. It also contains some information on the Medlar.
].

Propagation

Seed - this is best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a cold frame, some of the seed will germinate in the spring, though most will probably take another year. Stored seed can be very slow and erratic to germinate, it should be warm stratified for 3 months at 15°c and then cold stratified for another 3 months at 4°c[
164
Title
Growing from Seed. Volume 4.
Publication
 
Author
Bird. R. (Editor)
Publisher
Thompson and Morgan.
Year
1990
ISBN
-
Description
Very readable magazine with lots of information on propagation. A good article on Yuccas, one on Sagebrush (Artemesia spp) and another on Chaerophyllum bulbosum.
]. It may still take another 18 months to germinate[
78
Title
Propagation of Trees, Shrubs and Conifers.
Publication
 
Author
Sheat. W. G.
Publisher
MacMillan and Co
Year
1948
ISBN
-
Description
A bit dated but a good book on propagation techniques with specific details for a wide range of plants.
]. Scarifying the seed before stratifying it might reduce this time[
80
Title
Hardy Woody Plants from Seed.
Publication
 
Author
McMillan-Browse. P.
Publisher
Grower Books
Year
1985
ISBN
0-901361-21-6
Description
Does not deal with many species but it is very comprehensive on those that it does cover. Not for casual reading.
]. Fermenting the seed for a few days in its own pulp may also speed up the germination process[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
]. Another possibility is to harvest the seed 'green' (as soon as the embryo has fully developed but before the seedcoat hardens) and sow it immediately in a cold frame. If timed well, it can germinate in the spring[
80
Title
Hardy Woody Plants from Seed.
Publication
 
Author
McMillan-Browse. P.
Publisher
Grower Books
Year
1985
ISBN
0-901361-21-6
Description
Does not deal with many species but it is very comprehensive on those that it does cover. Not for casual reading.
]. If you are only growing small quantities of plants, it is best to pot up the seedlings as soon as they are large enough to handle and grow them on in individual pots for their first year, planting them out in late spring into nursery beds or their final positions. When growing larger quantities, it might be best to sow them directly outdoors in a seedbed, but with protection from mice and other seed-eating creatures. Grow them on in the seedbed until large enough to plant out, but undercut the roots if they are to be left undisturbed for more than two years.

Add a Comment:

If you have any useful information about this plant, please leave a comment. Comments have to be approved before they are shown here.