Crataegus crusgalli

Cockspur Hawthorn




  • native to Quebec down through North Carolina
  • hardy to zone 4

Habit and Form

  • a deciduous tree
  • 20' to 30' tall with an equal spread
  • rounded, spreading crown
  • horizontal branches
  • slow growth rate
  • medium texture

Summer Foliage

  • alternate leaf arrangement
  • simple, deciduous leaves
  • obovate leaf shape
  • 1" to 4" long
  • sharp, serrated margins
  • shiny, dark green leaf color

Autumn Foliage

  • bronze-red to red fall color


  • small, white flowers
  • 0.6" in diameter
  • blooms in May
  • only lasts a week
  • born in large corymbs, 2" to 3"
  • odorous


  • small, red pome
  • clustered together
  • matures in September
  • persist through late fall


  • grayish brown bark
  • slender
  • thorns along stems around 0.5" to 3" long


  • transplant in Spring
  • prefers well-drained soil
  • soil tolerant
  • pH adaptable
  • full sun is best

Landscape Use

  • specimen tree
  • screen border


  • thorns can be hazardous
  • tends to have many pest problems similar to apple trees
  • fireblight, aphids, scales, powdery mildew

ID Features

  • 1.5" to 3" long thorns along stems
  • a medium-sized deciduous tree
  • 20' to 30' tall and wide
  • broad, rounded tree
  • simple ovate leaves
  • sessile, rounded, reddish brown buds


  • by seed
  • by cuttings


var. inermis (may be the same as 'Cruzam' (Crusader®)) - A form that is similar to the species, but virtually thornless. Features early white blooms, abundant red fruit and attractive silver bark. Appears to be relatively disease-resistant.

© Copyright Mark H. Brand, 1997-2015.

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Citation and Acknowledgements: University of Connecticut Plant Database,, Mark H. Brand, Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture, Storrs, CT 06269-4067 USA.