Hawthorn Crataegus spp.
Family: Rosaceae (Rose)
Branching: Alternate

There are many species of Hawthorn in Ontario.  They are very easy to identify as a group, but differentiating between the species is something that even the experts disagree on.  In the winter, I am usually content to call them all hawthorn.  As their name suggest, they all have thorns (though sometimes not many) and this is usually the best distinction between them and other small trees.  Unlike the other thorny plants, Hawthorn thorns are long, slender and sharp and often the thorns themselves will grow thorns.  Honey Locust also has similar thorns but its buds are different and it grows into a much larger tree.

Typical Hawthorn buds and twig.

Another view of a Hawthorn twig.  The buds are usually reddish as in this picture

Hawthorn thorns.  Often the thorns will sprout other thorns

Another view of a thorn

Mature hawthorns, with thorns sprouting out the trunks.

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copyright © 2008 Josh Sayers
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