Crataegus submollis (Quebec Hawthorn)

Plant Info
Also known as:
Family:Rosaceae (Rose)
Life cycle:perennial woody
Habitat:part shade, sun; average to dry soil; woodland edges, thickets, meadows, floodplains
Bloom season:May - June
Plant height:20 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] Flat-topped, branching cluster of 5 to 15 flowers at tips of branch twigs, emerging after the leaves in mid to late spring. Flowers are 2/3 to nearly 1 inch across with 5 round white petals. In the center are 7 to 10 stamens with white tips (anthers).

[photo of sepals, hypanthium and flower stalks] The 5 sepals around the base of the flower are narrowly triangular, the edges usually with gland-tipped teeth or narrow gland-tipped lobes. The cup-shaped hypanthium below the sepals and the flower stalks are both densely covered in woolly hairs.

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

[leaf scan] Leaves are alternate, 2½ to 4 inches long, 2¼ to 3½ inches wide, broadly egg-shaped to nearly round in outline, mostly widest near the base, blunt to pointed at the tip, broadly wedge-shaped to rounded to straight across at the base. Edges are toothed with 3 to 5 shallow lobes per side, usually with minute glands at the tips of at least some teeth. The upper surface is densely short-hairy when young, the lower densely woolly hairy especially along veins though may become nearly hairless with age. The leaf stalk is up to about half as long as the blade, densely hairy all over, not winged or narrowly winged towards the tip, and may have a few reddish or black glands.

[photo of branch thorns] Young twigs are hairy, relatively slender, green becoming gray-brown and hairless, turning gray the 3rd year and developing straight to slightly curved thorns 1¼ to 2¾ inches long. Thorns are moderately abundant, shiny blackish turning gray.

[photo of trunk] Mature bark is thin, gray to gray-brown and splits into narrow plates. Stems are single or a few from the base and may reach 6 inches in diameter on larger stems. Compound thorns are absent; branches are spreading to ascending, the crown as wide as or wider than tall. Plants are not colony-forming or root suckering.

Fruit: Fruit type: berry/drupe

[photo of fruit] Fruit is fleshy and berry-like, nearly round to somewhat pear-shaped, ~¾ inch diameter, dull to somewhat shiny red at maturity.


Quebec Hawthorn is uncommon in Minnesota, where it reaches the southwestern tip of its range. Habitats are primarily upland at woodland edges where it gets at least some sun, less often in floodplains or in the forest understory.

Quebec Hawthorn is recognized by the combination of: single or few-stemmed tall shrub or small tree, compound thorns absent; spreading to ascending branches with moderately abundant thorns up to 2¾ inches long; leaves to 4 inches long, egg-shaped to round in outline, usually with distinct shallow lobes, densely soft-hairy on the underside especially along veins, teeth usually tipped with minute glands; leaf stalks densely hairy all over and often with a few red or black glands; flowers ~¾ inch diameter with 7 to 10 stamens and white anthers; sepals with gland-tipped serrations or narrow lobes, hypanthium and flower stalks densely woolly hairy. Fruit is more or less round, dull red at maturity. It is one of the the hairiest of the Minnesota Hawthorns.

Most similar is Crataegus mollis (Downy Hawthorn), which is very similar in overall hairiness, but is always a tree (not shrub-like), has slightly larger flowers with 17 to 20 stamens, trunks often have compound thorns, leaves are slightly larger and tend to be more distinctly lobed, leaf teeth lack glands at the tip, and leaf stalks lack any glands.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka and Peter M. Dziuk taken in Ramsey County.


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