Crataegus punctata (Dotted Hawthorn)

Plant Info
Also known as: White Haw
Family:Rosaceae (Rose)
Life cycle:perennial woody
Habitat:part shade, sun; moist to dry soil; pastures, forests, thickets, floodplains, wetland edges, wooded bluffs
Bloom season:May - June
Plant height:10 to 30 feet
Wetland Indicator Status:none
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 5-petals Cluster type: flat Cluster type: panicle

[photo of flowers with white anthers] Flat-topped, branching cluster of 10 to 25 flowers at tips of branch twigs, emerging after the leaves in mid to late spring. Flowers are ½ to ¾ inch across with 5 round white petals. In the center are 16 to 20 stamens; stamen tips (anthers) may be either white or pink.

[photo of sepals, hypanthium and flower stalk] The 5 sepals around the base of the flower are narrowly triangular, sparsely hairy, and smooth along the edges or with a few glands dotting the edge. Flower stalks and the cup-shaped hypanthium below the sepals are moderately to densely hairy.

Leaves and stems: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] Leaves are alternate, 1½ to 3 inches long, up to 1½ inches wide, broadly elliptic to inversely egg-shaped, mostly widest towards the tip, toothed along the edges, sometimes with a few shallow lobes, rounded to pointed at the tip, wedge-shaped at the base. Both surfaces are soft-hairy, more densely so on the lower surface along the veins. The leaf blade tapers at the base to a narrowly winged stalk that is hairy on both surfaces and lacks glands; the wing may or may not extend to the base of the stalk.

[photo of branch and thorn] Young twigs are hairy gray-brown to gray, turn gray and hairless the 2nd year and develop gray, slightly curved thorns up to 2 inches long, though sometimes branch thorns are absent.

[photo of mature trunk] Mature bark is thin, gray to gray-brown and splits into narrow plates. Stems are single, though frequently fork near the base, and may reach 10+ inches in diameter on larger stems. Compound thorns are usually present on older trunks, sometimes absent. The crown is typically wider than tall with long, horizontal branches. Plants are not colony-forming or root-suckering.

Fruit: Fruit type: berry/drupe

[photo of fruit] Fruit is fleshy and berry-like, globe-shaped, about ½ inch diameter, usually turning dull maroon at maturity though one form ( f. aurea ) has yellow fruit.


Dotted Hawthorn reaches the northwestern tip of its range in Minnesota, found in about half the state, absent in the northern-most and western counties (note: the national distribution map incorrectly flags it as rare). Of the 10+ Hawthorns recorded in Minnesota, Dotted Hawthorn is the one consistently taking the form of a single stemmed tree. It has a beautiful form, with widely spreading branches and a crown wider than tall; in full bloom it's just spectacular. It grows in a variety of soil, moisture and light conditions, but prefers full sun to part shade and well-drained soil.

Dotted Hawthorn is one of the more easily recognized Crataegus species in Minnesota from the combination of: the single stem with mature trunks usually (but not always) having compound thorns; widely spreading branches with scattered curved gray thorns up to 2 inches long; leaves soft hairy especially along veins, mostly widest towards the tip with a long taper at the base to a winged stalk that is hairy on all sides and lacks any glands; flowers with about 20 stamens, pink or white anthers, and sepals smooth along the edges or with a few gland dots. Fruit is a dull maroon when mature, but the birds are likely to take it before it's ripe. The surface of fruit has scattered, pale dots, hence the common name Dotted Hawthorn, but that characteristic is not unique to this species.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka and Peter M. Dziuk taken at various locations across Minnesota.


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Michelle Rowell - Becker county
on: 2022-06-09 13:42:13

We've been camping at this farm for years, but not usually in June. Found the Dotted Hawthorne this week as it is in full bloom.

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