Cockspur Hawthorn (Crataegus crus-galli)
The Cockspur hawthorn is extremely tolerant to hot and dry conditions. This is a low-branching tree, and its lowest branches may even touch the ground. The tree's leaves are dark green, oval shaped, and turn beautiful shades of red and purple in the fall. Though the white flowers on this tree are pretty, they have an unpleasant smell. This tree produces bright-red, round berries, which though edible to humans, are usually left for the birds. This tree also attracts butterflies.
Family: Rosaceae (Rose)
Characteristics: The 1-inch to 4-inch-long leaves are oval-shaped and dark green. In the fall, leaves turn bronze-red to purple. In May, unpleasant-smelling white flowers appear in 2-3 inch clusters. These flowers give way to bright-red, round berries that ripen in late September to October and will usually remain on the tree all winter. Bark is rough and becomes shaggy with age. This is a low-branching tree, with wide-spreading horizontal branches. Branches are covered in 1.5-inch to 3-inch-long thorns. This tree grows 20-30 feet high and 20-35 feet wide.
Foliage: Deciduous (leaves lost seasonally)
Geographic Origin: North Eastern United States (native)
Cultivation Notes: Requires medium maintenance. Does best in full sun, though can tolerate light shade. Prefers moist and well-drained soils. This tree is very tolerant to drought conditions, and can also tolerate clay soils and air pollution. It is prone to cedar rust disease. This tree should also be used with care, due to its long and sharp thorns.
Number on Campus: 5
Sources: Dirr, Morton Arboretum, Missouri Botanical Garden