cockspur hawthorn

(Crataegus crus-galli var. crus-galli)

Conservation Status
cockspur hawthorn
Photo by Kirk Nelson
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  NatureServe

N5? - Secure

SNR - Unranked

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
Wetland Indicator Status
     
  Great Plains

FAC - Facultative

     
  Midwest

FAC - Facultative

     
  Northcentral & Northeast

FAC - Facultative

     
           
 
Description
 
 

Cockspur hawthorn is usually a very small tree but sometimes takes the form of a tree-like shrub. It can get up to 40 tall and up to 12 in diameter but in the northern states it is usually no more than 25 in height and 9 in diameter. It rises usually on a single stem from a woody, branching root system. It is moderate-growing horizontally but slow-growing vertically.

The trunk is short, often crooked, and armed with sharp, branched, up to 4 long thorns.

The crown is low, widely spreading, broadly rounded or depressed, and densely branched. The branches are densely twiggy and have numerous thorns. The thorns are slender, unbranched, straight or slightly curved, and 2 to 2¾ long. The thorns on the lower half of the stem are turned downward, resembling the spur on a rooster, and giving the plant the common name “cockspur”.

Bark on young branches is gray and slightly rough. Bark on older trunks is separated into flat, plate-like scales that become loose at both ends.

First year twigs are light green and hairless with numerous small, white pores (lenticels). Second year twigs are smooth, reddish or brownish, and hairless, with numerous small, white lenticels. Buds are plainly visible, not submerged or partially hidden. They are covered with 6 bright red or dark red, thick, hairless, somewhat fleshy scales. They are gummy when pressed between the fingers. The terminal bud is round to egg-shaped. The leaf scar is flat or only slightly raised, and has 3 bundle scars. The pith is round or nearly round and solid, not spongy.

The leaves are alternate and deciduous. They are on hairless, light green leaf stalks (petioles). The petioles are to ¾ long. They are not winged and do not have red glands on the margins.

There are two types of leaves. The leaf blades on flowering twigs are usually inversely egg-shaped or narrowly inversely egg-shaped, sometimes elliptic. They are leathery, ¾ to 2¾ long, to 1wide, and unlobed or nearly unlobed. They are at least twice as long as wide. They are narrowly wedge-shaped at the base and rounded at the tip. There is a prominent midvein and several lateral veins. The lateral veins branch before reaching the margin. The upper surface is dark green, hairless, and shiny. The lateral veins and usually also the midvein are not at all impressed on the upper surface. The lower surface is pale green and hairless. A network of veins between the lateral veins is visible on the lower surface. The margins are finely toothed, at least above the middle, with sharp, forward pointing teeth. Leaf blades on non-flowering twigs are larger, 2 to 3½ long and 1¼ to 3 wide, and are sometimes more obviously lobed.

The inflorescence is a branched, flat-topped cluster (corymb) of several flowers at the ends of twigs and branches. The corymbs are 2 to 3 in diameter. The stalks of the corymb and stalks of individual flowers are light green and hairless.

Each individual flower is up to ½ in diameter. There are 5 sepals, 5 petals, about 10 stamens, and 2 or 3 styles. The sepals are green and are fused at the base into a short tube and separated at the tip into 5 untoothed, narrowly lance-shaped to linear lobes. The petals are white and widely spreading. The stamens have pink or pale yellow anthers. The flowers are foul-smelling.

The fruit is a seed capsule with a fleshy, outer covering (pome). The pome is globe-shaped and ¼ to in diameter. It is green at first, becoming red when it reaches maturity in late mid-September to early October.

 
     
 

Height

 
 

Up to 25

 
     
 

Flower Color

 
 

White

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
  Dotted hawthorn (Crataegus punctata) leaves are hairy, at least on the lower surface. The upper leaf surface is dull, not shiny. The midvein and lateral veins are impressed on the upper leaf surface.  
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Moderate moisture to dry. River banks, streambanks, shores, woodland borders, fields, pastures, roadsides. Full to partial sun.

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Flowering

 
 

Late May

 
     
 

Pests and Diseases

 
 

Cedar-hawthorn Rust (Gymnosporangium globosum)

fire blight (Erwinia amylovora)

hawthorn leafminer (Profenusa canadensis)

 
     
 
Use
 
 

A spineless form of cockspur hawthorn is a popular cultivar.

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

24

 
  10/9/2015      
         
 

Nativity

 
 

Native to the eastern half of North America, including Wisconsin and Iowa. Historically native to Minnesota but no current populations known.

 
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

Rare or absent, possibly extirpated in Minnesota

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Magnoliopsida (flowering plants)  
  Superorder Rosanae  
 

Order

Rosales (roses, elms, figs, and allies)  
 

Family

Rosaceae (rose)  
  Subfamily Amygdaloideae  
  Tribe Maleae  
  Subtribe Malinae  
 

Genus

Crataegus (hawthorn)  
  Section Coccineae  
  Series Crus-galli  
  Species Crataegus crus-galli (cockspur hawthorn)  
       
 

Subordinate Taxa

 
 

There are three varieties of cockspur hawthorn. Only the nominate variety, var. crus-galli, occurs – or once occurred – in Minnesota.

 
       
 

Synonyms

 
     
       
 

Common Names

 
 

bush hawthorn

cockspur hawthorn

cockspur thorn

 
       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Corymb

A flat-topped or convex inflorescence in which the stalked flowers grow upward from various points on the main stem to approximately the same horizontal plane. The outer flowers open first.

 

Lenticel

A corky, round or stripe-like, usually raised, pore-like opening in bark that allows for gas exchange.

 

Linear

Long, straight, and narrow, with more or less parallel sides, like a blade of grass.

 

Petiole

The stalk of a leaf blade or compound leaf that attaches the leaf blade to the stem.

 

Pith

The spongy cells in the center of the stem.

 

Pome

A fruit with a central seed bearing core enclosed in thick flesh, e.g., an apple or pear.

 

Stipule

A small, leaf-like, scale-like, glandular, or rarely spiny appendage found at the base of a leaf stalk, usually occurring in pairs and usually dropping soon.

       
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Kirk Nelson
       
  cockspur hawthorn   cockspur hawthorn
       
  cockspur hawthorn    
       
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  Cockspur Hawthorn Tree
Andree Reno Sanborn
 
  Cockspur Hawthorn Tree  
 
About

Crataegus crus-galli

 
     
  Crataegus crus galli
Angie Holmberg
 
   
 
About

Published on Jul 30, 2014

 

 
     

 

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  Cockspur Hawthorn (Crataegus crus-galli)
TheCampusTrees
 
   
 
About

Published on Apr 12, 2012

 

   
       

 

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Kirk Nelson
8/24/2014

Location: Baker Park Reserve

I saw this next to the Lake Independence Regional Trail in Baker Park Reserve. It appears to be a Cockspur Hawthorn (Crataegus crus-galli)

cockspur hawthorn


     
     
 
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