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Useful Temperate Plants

Crataegus chrysocarpa

Ashe

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

Crataegus blanchardii Sarg.

Crataegus chapmanii (Beadle) Ashe

Crataegus coccinata Sarg.

Crataegus coloradoides Ramaley

Crataegus columbiana chrysocarpa (Ashe) Dorn

Crataegus columbiana piperi (Britton) Sarg.

Crataegus doddsii Ramaley

Crataegus faxonii Sarg.

Crataegus irrasa blanchardii (Sarg.) Eggl.

Crataegus lemingtonensis Sarg.

Crataegus piperi Britton

Crataegus praecox Sarg.

Crataegus rotundifolia (Ehrh.) Moench

Crataegus rotundifolia chrysocarpa (Ashe) Eggl.

Crataegus rotundifolia faxonii (Sarg.) Eggl.

Crataegus rotundifolia pubera Sarg.

Crataegus subrotundifolia Sarg.

Crataegus tomentosa chapmanii Beadle

Common Name: Fireberry Hawthorn

No Image.

General Information

Crataegus chrysocarpa is a thorny, deciduous shrub, sometimes a tree with a wide-spreading crown; it usually grows 200 - 350cm tall, though rarely reaches 7 metres in the northeast of its range[
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.
,
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 is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and a medicine.

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

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.
,
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

N. America - British Colombia to Newfoundland, south to Oregon, Utah, Illinois and New Jersey

Habitat

Thickets and rocky ground along streams[
43
Title
Gray's Manual of Botany.Eighth Edition
Publication
 
Author
Fernald. M. L.
Publisher
American Book Co.; New York
Year
1950
ISBN
0442222505
Description
A bit dated but a good and concise flora of the eastern part of N. America.
]. Well-drained mesic sites with high light intensity, under aspen; at elevations up to 2,200 metres[
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.
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *
HabitDeciduous Tree
Height6.00 m
PollinatorsMidges
Cultivation StatusWild

Cultivation Details

Crataegus chrysocarpa is a very cold-hardy plant, tolerating temperatures down to around -25°c when dormant[
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.
].
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 grows well on a chalk soil and also in heavy clay soils[
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.
]. Once established, many species can tolerate a range of difficult conditions including drought; excessively moist 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.
].
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.
]. A ten year old tree was seen at Kew Gardens in 2002. It was about 2.5 metres tall and was bearing a very good crop of 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.
].
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.
].
Crataegus chrysocarpa is one of the most wide-ranging North American species of the genus and is correspondingly variable, with nine distinct forms recognized[
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.
].

Edible Uses

Fruit - raw or cooked[
161
Title
Food Plants of the N. American Indians. Publication no. 237.
Publication
 
Author
Yanovsky. E.
Publisher
U.S. Depf of Agriculture.
Year
 
ISBN
-
Description
A comprehensive but very terse guide. Not for the casual reader.
,
177
Title
Plants for Human Consumption.
Publication
 
Author
Kunkel. G.
Publisher
Koeltz Scientific Books
Year
1984
ISBN
3874292169
Description
An excellent book for the dedicated. A comprehensive listing of Latin names with a brief list of edible parts.
]. Used mainly as a famine food[
257
Title
Native American Ethnobotany
Publication
 
Author
Moerman. D.
Publisher
Timber Press. Oregon.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-88192-453-9
Description
Very comprehensive but terse guide to the native uses of plants. Excellent bibliography, fully referenced to each plant, giving a pathway to further information. Not for the casual reader.
]. A very pleasant flavour when ripe, with the added bonus of ripening in late summer before most other members of the genus[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
]. It can be used in making pies, preserves, etc, and can also be dried for later use. The red, occasionally yellow, globose fruit is up to 12mm in diameter[
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.
]. It is borne in small clusters[
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.
]. There are up to five 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.
].
A tree bearing the name Crataegus rotundifolia at Kew in September 1993 was fruiting abundantly[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
]. The fruit was up to 15mm in diameter, with a reasonable sweet mealy taste, though when not fully ripe there was a distinct bitterness[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
]. It makes an acceptable dessert 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.
].

A tea can be made from the twigs[
257
Title
Native American Ethnobotany
Publication
 
Author
Moerman. D.
Publisher
Timber Press. Oregon.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-88192-453-9
Description
Very comprehensive but terse guide to the native uses of plants. Excellent bibliography, fully referenced to each plant, giving a pathway to further information. Not for the casual reader.
]. (This probably means the young shoots with leaves[
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

A decoction of the dried berries has been used as a mild laxative[
257
Title
Native American Ethnobotany
Publication
 
Author
Moerman. D.
Publisher
Timber Press. Oregon.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-88192-453-9
Description
Very comprehensive but terse guide to the native uses of plants. Excellent bibliography, fully referenced to each plant, giving a pathway to further information. Not for the casual reader.
].

A compound decoction of the root has been used in the treatment of diarrhoea[
257
Title
Native American Ethnobotany
Publication
 
Author
Moerman. D.
Publisher
Timber Press. Oregon.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-88192-453-9
Description
Very comprehensive but terse guide to the native uses of plants. Excellent bibliography, fully referenced to each plant, giving a pathway to further information. Not for the casual reader.
].

Although no other 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.
].

Other 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.

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