Kansas Hawthorn, Crataegus coccinoides, is a decidious, spiny shrub or small fruit bearing tree, growing to 8 meters tall and 6 meters wide. It is frost hardy plant and it can tolerate atmospheric pollution, drought and forceful winds but not maritime exposure. Crataegus coccinoides is a member of the Rosaceae family the genus Crataegus.
Crataegus coccinoides leaves are alternate, simple, broadly ovate, 6-7.5 cm long and 5-6 cm wide, hairless, lusterless dark green above, lighter below, downy when young, hairless with age. The plant flowers in May. Flowers are white, pink, or red, hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) born in bundles and are pollinated by Midges. The flowers have a foul smell somewhat like decomposing fish which attracts Midges.
Kansas Hawthorn Fruit
The Kansas Hawthorn fruit is edible, small, crisp, sub-acid with up to five somewhat large seeds in the center, stuck together giving the appearance of single seed. Fruit is borne in small bunches and is up to 2 cm in diameter with numerous pale dots and thick juicy pulp. The plant requires winter chill in order for fruit to set. Kansas Hawthorn fruit is consumed raw or used cooked in the making of pies, jelly and other preserves. It can also be dried out for later use.
Kansas Hawthorn Propagation Methods
Plant propagation is by seed best planted as soon as it is ripe in the autumn. The plant is a very easily grown plant, it favors a well-drained moisture holding loamy but thrives in almost any soil. A position in full sun is best when plants are being grown for their fruit, they will also do well in semi-shade though fruit returns and quality will be lower. Kansas Hawthorn seedlings take from 5 – 8 years before they commence bearing fruit, though grafted trees will frequently do so in their third year.
Kansas Hawthorn, Crataegus coccinoides
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