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Crataegus monogyna (hawthorn)


  • Last modified
  • 11 October 2017
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Pest
  • Invasive Species
  • Host Plant
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Crataegus monogyna
  • Preferred Common Name
  • hawthorn
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Dicotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • C. monogyna is the common hawthorn native to most of Europe, North Africa and West Asia. This thorny bush or small tree was introduced to North America and Australasia in the 1800s, naturalizing but only in mor...

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Typical shrubby specimen of hawthorn on the edge of the valley of the River Warta in Poznan, Poland. Spring 1999.
TitleTree habit
CaptionTypical shrubby specimen of hawthorn on the edge of the valley of the River Warta in Poznan, Poland. Spring 1999.
CopyrightWojciech Stachnowicz
Typical shrubby specimen of hawthorn on the edge of the valley of the River Warta in Poznan, Poland. Spring 1999.
Tree habitTypical shrubby specimen of hawthorn on the edge of the valley of the River Warta in Poznan, Poland. Spring 1999. Wojciech Stachnowicz
A blossoming twig, with leaves, of hawthorn. Valley of the river Warta in Poznan, Poland. Spring 1999.
CaptionA blossoming twig, with leaves, of hawthorn. Valley of the river Warta in Poznan, Poland. Spring 1999.
CopyrightWojciech Stachnowicz
A blossoming twig, with leaves, of hawthorn. Valley of the river Warta in Poznan, Poland. Spring 1999.
FlowersA blossoming twig, with leaves, of hawthorn. Valley of the river Warta in Poznan, Poland. Spring 1999. Wojciech Stachnowicz


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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Crataegus monogyna Jacq.

Preferred Common Name

  • hawthorn

Other Scientific Names

  • Crataegus aegeica Pojark
  • Crataegus alutacea Klokov
  • Crataegus azarella Griseb.
  • Crataegus boissieri Willk.
  • Crataegus brevispina Kunze
  • Crataegus calycina Peterm. subsp. calycina
  • Crataegus calycina Peterm. subsp. curvisepala (Lindm.) Franco
  • Crataegus ceratocarpa Kossych
  • Crataegus granatensis Boiss.
  • Crataegus laciniata sensu Willk., non Ucria
  • Crataegus lasiocarpa Lange
  • Crataegus leiomonogyna Klokov
  • Crataegus lipskyi Klokov
  • Crataegus maura auct. hisp., non L.f.
  • Crataegus oxyacantha L., nom. ambig.
  • Crataegus oxyacantha L., nom. ambig. subsp. oxyacantha
  • Crataegus oxyacantha var. praecox hort. ex Loudon
  • Crataegus panachaica C.K.Schneid.
  • Crataegus popovii Chrshan.
  • Crataegus praearmata Klokov
  • Crataegus transalpina A.Kern.
  • Crataegus triloba auct., non (Poir.) Pers
  • Mespilus monogyna (Jacq.) All.
  • Mespilus oxyacantha (L.) Crantz

International Common Names

  • English: European hawthorn; May tree; May-tree; oneseed hawthorn; one-seeded hawthorn; single-seed hawthorn; whitethorn
  • Spanish: espino albar
  • French: aubépine a un style; aubépine monogyne
  • Russian: boyaryshnik odnopestnyi
  • Portuguese: pirliteiro

Local Common Names

  • Czechoslovakia (former): hloh jednosemenny
  • Germany: Eingriffeliger Weissdorn; Eingriffliger Weissdorn; Saulenweissdorn
  • Italy: biancospino; cratego monogino
  • Netherlands: eenstijlige Meidoorn
  • Poland: glog jednoszyjkowy
  • Sweden: trubbhagtorn
  • UK: common hawthorn; single-seed hawthorn
  • USA: European hawthorn; singleseed hawthorn

EPPO code

  • CSCMO (Crataegus monogyna)

Summary of Invasiveness

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C. monogyna is the common hawthorn native to most of Europe, North Africa and West Asia. This thorny bush or small tree was introduced to North America and Australasia in the 1800s, naturalizing but only in more recent years becoming an environmental weed, especially on the Pacific coast of North America and parts of Australia and New Zealand. Seed are widely dispersed by birds who prefer the fruit over that from native plants, and thickets can form that suppress native vegetation especially in natural forest but also many other habitats. It is also hybridizing with native Crataegus species in invaded areas. Further invasion and spread of this species is to be expected especially in North America, and further introduction should be prevented.

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Dicotyledonae
  •                     Order: Rosales
  •                         Family: Rosaceae
  •                             Genus: Crataegus
  •                                 Species: Crataegus monogyna

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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The genus Crataegus, part of the Rosaceae family (subfamily Maloideae), contains over 200 species, though some taxonomists divide these further and they may be over 1000 species depending on the descriptions followed. Several varieties and forms have been proposed, and European species are described and defined by Christensen and Janjic (2006). A number of subspecies are also recorded: subsp. monogyna (Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, 2007) from France to southern Ukraine, subsp. aegeica (Pojark.) Franco in the eastern Aegean, subsp. azarella (Griseb.) Franco in southeastern Europe (southern and eastern Spain and Italy, also Sicily), subsp. brevispina (Kunze) Franco in Portugal, Spain and the Balearic islands, subsp. leiomonogyna (Klokov) Franco in Russia, and subsp. calycina (Peterm.) Soó and subsp. intermedia (Fuss) Jáv. (ranges not stated).

Crataegus spp. are commonly known as the hawthorns, though species-specific vernacular names may be applied to several species, such as English hawthorn and white thorn being applied to both Crataegus monogyna and Crataegus laevigata. It is also not impossible that some introduced populations will in future be attributed to C. laevigata and not C. monogyna, and also that new spontaneous hybrids will develop in introduced ranges with both exotic and native Crataegus species as parents. The ‘haw’ in hawthorn is the name of the fruit. Many species are able to freely hybridize, further increasing variability and speciation. Being a valued ornamental, horticultural selections have also been made, and there exist a large number of cultivars.



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C. monogyna is a thorny shrub or small tree up to 10 m high though commonly 2-6 m, with smooth pale grey bark. Branches straight with stout spines on branches; leaves alternate, ovate to obovate, 1.5-3.5 cm long, 3-7-lobed, margins entire or sparingly serrate, mostly glabrous except for patches of hairs in axils of veins on the underside. Flowers white fading to pink, in clusters, petals 5, styles 1. Fruit single-seed red berries, 1.25 cm in diameter.

Plant Type

Top of page Broadleaved
Seed propagated
Vegetatively propagated


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C. monogyna is widely distributed (Meusel et al., 1965), native to most of Europe excluding its northeastern part, and to parts of the Mediterranean coast of North Africa. C. monogyna is generally regarded as lowland species, however it has been reported from Cyprus at 1525 m in altitude, Albania and Lebanon (1600 m), Macedonia (1630 m), Greece (1650 m) and Anatolia (up to 2200 m in altitude).

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasiveReferenceNotes


ArmeniaPresentCABI, 2005
AzerbaijanPresentCABI, 2005
Georgia (Republic of)Present Not invasive USDA-ARS, 2007
IndiaUnconfirmed record,
-Jammu and KashmirUnconfirmed record,
IranPresent Not invasive USDA-ARS, 2007
IraqPresent Not invasive USDA-ARS, 2007
IsraelPresent Not invasive USDA-ARS, 2007
LebanonPresent Not invasive USDA-ARS, 2007
SyriaPresent Not invasive USDA-ARS, 2007
TurkeyPresent Not invasive USDA-ARS, 2007
TurkmenistanPresentCABI, 2005


AlgeriaPresent Not invasive USDA-ARS, 2007
EgyptPresent Not invasive USDA-ARS, 2007
MoroccoPresent Not invasive USDA-ARS, 2007
South AfricaPresent Invasive Reichard et al., 2001
TunisiaPresent Not invasive USDA-ARS, 2007

North America

CanadaPresentCABI, 2005
-British ColumbiaPresent Invasive USDA-NRCS, 2007
-New BrunswickPresentUSDA-NRCS, 2007
-Nova ScotiaPresentUSDA-NRCS, 2007
-OntarioPresentUSDA-NRCS, 2007
-Prince Edward IslandPresentUSDA-NRCS, 2007
-QuebecPresentUSDA-NRCS, 2007
USAPresent1800sCABI, 2005
-AlaskaPresentUSDA-NRCS, 2007
-CaliforniaPresent Invasive USDA-NRCS, 2007
-ConnecticutPresentUSDA-NRCS, 2007
-DelawarePresentUSDA-NRCS, 2007
-IllinoisPresentUSDA-NRCS, 2007
-KentuckyPresentUSDA-NRCS, 2007
-MainePresentUSDA-NRCS, 2007
-MarylandPresentUSDA-NRCS, 2007
-MassachusettsPresentUSDA-NRCS, 2007
-MichiganPresentUSDA-NRCS, 2007
-MontanaPresentUSDA-NRCS, 2007
-New HampshirePresentUSDA-NRCS, 2007
-New JerseyPresentUSDA-NRCS, 2007
-New YorkPresent Invasive Hunter and Mattice, 2002; USDA-NRCS, 2007
-OhioPresentUSDA-NRCS, 2007
-OregonPresent Invasive USDA-NRCS, 2007
-PennsylvaniaPresentUSDA-NRCS, 2007
-Rhode IslandPresentUSDA-NRCS, 2007
-UtahPresentUSDA-NRCS, 2007
-VermontPresentUSDA-NRCS, 2007
-WashingtonPresent Invasive USDA-NRCS, 2007
-West VirginiaPresentUSDA-NRCS, 2007
-WisconsinPresentUSDA-NRCS, 2007


AlbaniaPresent Not invasive USDA-ARS, 2007
AustriaPresent Not invasive USDA-ARS, 2007
BelarusPresentCABI, 2005
BelgiumPresent Not invasive USDA-ARS, 2007
Bosnia-HercegovinaPresentCABI, 2005
BulgariaPresent Not invasive USDA-ARS, 2007
CroatiaPresentCABI, 2005
CyprusPresent Not invasive USDA-ARS, 2007
Czech RepublicPresentCABI, 2005
Czechoslovakia (former)Present Not invasive USDA-ARS, 2007
DenmarkPresent Not invasive USDA-ARS, 2007
EstoniaPresentCABI, 2005
FinlandPresent Not invasive USDA-ARS, 2007
FrancePresent Not invasive USDA-ARS, 2007
-CorsicaPresentCABI, 2005
GermanyPresent Not invasive USDA-ARS, 2007
GreecePresent Not invasive USDA-ARS, 2007
HungaryPresent Not invasive USDA-ARS, 2007
IrelandPresent Not invasive USDA-ARS, 2007
ItalyPresent Not invasive , ; USDA-ARS, 2007
LatviaPresentCABI, 2005
LiechtensteinPresentCABI, 2005
LithuaniaPresentCABI, 2005
LuxembourgPresentCABI, 2005
MacedoniaPresentCABI, 2005
MoldovaPresentCABI, 2005
MonacoPresentCABI, 2005
NetherlandsPresent Not invasive USDA-ARS, 2007
NorwayPresent Not invasive USDA-ARS, 2007
PolandPresent Not invasive USDA-ARS, 2007
PortugalPresent Not invasive USDA-ARS, 2007
RomaniaPresent Not invasive USDA-ARS, 2007
Russian FederationPresent Not invasive USDA-ARS, 2007
-Central RussiaPresent Not invasive Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, 2007
-Southern RussiaPresent Not invasive USDA-ARS, 2007
San MarinoPresentCABI, 2005
SerbiaPresentCABI, 2005
SlovakiaPresentCABI, 2005
SloveniaPresentCABI, 2005
SpainPresent Not invasive USDA-ARS, 2007
-Balearic IslandsPresentCABI, 2005
SwedenPresent Not invasive USDA-ARS, 2007
SwitzerlandPresent Not invasive USDA-ARS, 2007
UKPresent Not invasive USDA-ARS, 2007
UkrainePresent Not invasive USDA-ARS, 2007
Yugoslavia (former)Present Not invasive USDA-ARS, 2007


AustraliaPresent Invasive Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney, 2007
-New South WalesPresent Invasive Bass et al., 2006
-QueenslandPresentRoyal Botanic Gardens Sydney, 2007
-South AustraliaPresentRoyal Botanic Gardens Sydney, 2007
-TasmaniaPresentRoyal Botanic Gardens Sydney, 2007
-VictoriaPresentRoyal Botanic Gardens Sydney, 2007
New ZealandPresent1899 Invasive Owen, 1996

History of Introduction and Spread

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It has been widely introduced, is commonly planted and has become naturalized in North America, southern Africa, Australia and New Zealand having been introduced to each sometime in the 1800s. It has been observed to be an aggressive colonizer (Bass, 1990; Williams et al., 1986), and has become an invasive species in the Pacific northwest of the USA (Oregon and Washington), also British Columbia, and it was recently noted as fully naturalized and a potential pest in northern California, USA (Hrusa et al., 2002). It is also one of six woody invasive species in New York, USA, by Hunter and Mattice (2002), and noting its widespread distribution in North America (USDA-NRCS, 2007), further invasion in other states and provinces is highly likely. C. monogynais also invasive in South Africa, where birds are aiding spread in the Eastern Cape (Reichard et al., 2001). It is very invasive in northern New South Wales, having spread rapidly and conspicuously throughout the region and elsewhere in southern Australia at rates of 80–120 m yr-1 (Bass et al., 2006), and it is an environmental weed of concern in New Zealand, having been introduced in 1899 (Owen, 1996).

Risk of Introduction

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It is a noted weed in all countries where it is spreading. It is on California’s CalEPPC Red Alert list, and is expected to be declared noxious in other states and countries. Existing stands should be monitored, and further introduction via the horticultural trade should be prevented.


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C. monogyna is found in lowland areas on many soils, and is often considered principally a forest understory species in its native range, though it also prefers moist to damp disturbed places such as wetlands and lake margins as well as and open forests. It appears to thrive best in deeper soils. Throughout its range C. monogyna grows in several types of open forests and thickets, and in Central Europe, it forms its own plant community Pruno-Crataegetum, being a successional stage of vegetation leading to natural oak-hornbeam forests (Querco-Carpinetum sensu lato) (Wojterska, 1990).

In North America, riparian areas, abandoned fields and pastures, oak woodlands, and other forested habitats must be considered as potential habitat although outlying plants can be found in shrubland or grassland, especially near the coast (Alverson and Sigg, 2008).

Habitat List

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Coastal areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Coastal areas Present, no further details Natural
Cultivated / agricultural land Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Cultivated / agricultural land Present, no further details Natural
Cultivated / agricultural land Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Disturbed areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Disturbed areas Present, no further details Natural
Managed forests, plantations and orchards Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Managed grasslands (grazing systems) Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Managed grasslands (grazing systems) Present, no further details Natural
Managed grasslands (grazing systems) Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Rail / roadsides Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Rail / roadsides Present, no further details Natural
Rail / roadsides Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Urban / peri-urban areas Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Natural forests Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Natural forests Present, no further details Natural
Natural grasslands Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Natural grasslands Present, no further details Natural
Riverbanks Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Riverbanks Present, no further details Natural
semi-natural/Scrub / shrublands Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
semi-natural/Scrub / shrublands Present, no further details Natural
Wetlands Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Wetlands Present, no further details Natural

Biology and Ecology

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It is an exceptionally variable species in all its morphological features, particularly in size and shape of leaves, resulting in a high number of forms described from various parts of its range (Browicz, 1986). Hybridization is also likely to have played a significant role is this variation.
Reproductive Biology
C. monogyna is pollinated mainly by honey bees (Apis spp.). In Europe, fruit mature in the autumn, and can stay on the tree until mid-winter. At one site in western Oregon, the fruit crop was estimated at 2,721 fruits per plant. Seed longevity is unknown. Seed germination is aided by passing through a bird’s digestive tract, but this is not necessary for germination (Alverson and Sigg, 2008).
Physiology and Phenology
C. monogyna is described variously as a light demanding species or one showing tolerance of shade. After seed germination, in spring, C. monogyna grows rapidly for the first 15 years, and can live up to 250 years. Most vegetative growth occurs in spring and early summer, and growth rates are around 30-60 cm per year. After winter dormancy, leaves appear in March or April in the northern hemisphere, with flowers appearing after the leaves, and the fruit ripens in late autumn. It can, however, also spread vegetatively, suckering from its long, spreading roots when the main stem is cut.
Environmental Requirements

C. monogyna grows best in humid and sub-humid temperate zones, though is also native to cold climates in Scandinavia and is introduced in Canada and Alaska, USA. Once established, C. monogyna can withstand moderate drought.


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C - Temperate/Mesothermal climate Preferred Average temp. of coldest month > 0°C and < 18°C, mean warmest month > 10°C
Cf - Warm temperate climate, wet all year Preferred Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, wet all year
Cs - Warm temperate climate with dry summer Preferred Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry summers
Cw - Warm temperate climate with dry winter Preferred Warm temperate climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry winters)
D - Continental/Microthermal climate Tolerated Continental/Microthermal climate (Average temp. of coldest month < 0°C, mean warmest month > 10°C)
Df - Continental climate, wet all year Tolerated Continental climate, wet all year (Warm average temp. > 10°C, coldest month < 0°C, wet all year)
Ds - Continental climate with dry summer Tolerated Continental climate with dry summer (Warm average temp. > 10°C, coldest month < 0°C, dry summers)
Dw - Continental climate with dry winter Tolerated Continental climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, coldest month < 0°C, dry winters)

Latitude/Altitude Ranges

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Latitude North (°N)Latitude South (°S)Altitude Lower (m)Altitude Upper (m)
64 31 0 2200

Air Temperature

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Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Absolute minimum temperature (ºC) -35
Mean annual temperature (ºC) 5 19
Mean maximum temperature of hottest month (ºC) 17 28
Mean minimum temperature of coldest month (ºC) -9 10


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ParameterLower limitUpper limitDescription
Dry season duration07number of consecutive months with <40 mm rainfall
Mean annual rainfall4001400mm; lower/upper limits

Rainfall Regime

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Soil Tolerances

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Soil drainage

  • free

Soil reaction

  • acid
  • neutral

Soil texture

  • heavy
  • medium

Special soil tolerances

  • infertile
  • shallow

Notes on Natural Enemies

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There are relatively few pests and pathogens of C. monogyna. The most important disease is ‘fire blight’ caused by the bacteria Erwinia amylovora, and it should never be planted in the neighbourhood of orchards as it acts as an alternative hosts for this, one of the most dangerous disease of fruit-trees of the family Rosaceae (Zajaczkowski, 1998). In Australia, plants are severely attacked by the pear and cherry slug (Caliroa cerasi) in some years, which damages the foliage though this does not appear to harm the tree itself.

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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Natural Dispersal (Non-Biotic)
Berries could roll down slopes and be spread by rivers and/or floodwaters, but this is not considered as significant as compared to birds and other animals in seed dispersal.
Vector Transmission (Biotic)
The fleshy, edible fruits are eaten by animals which disperse the seeds, and C. monogyna has seeds dispersed by birds and mammals over many kilometres (Bass et al., 2006), this being the principle means of dissemination. Reichard et al. (2001) observed seed dispersal of C. monogyna by the pied currawong (Strepera graculina) in New South Wales, Australia, and by the American robin (Turdus migratorius) in South Africa, noting that the large are more frequently found fruit was generally preferred over that of native plants. In the native range, rodents are also observed to act as dispersal agents (Garcia-Castano et al., 2006), as were blackbirds (Turdus merula) and a species of lizard (Podarcis pityusensis) (Rodriguez-Perez et al., 2005).
Accidental Introduction
Seeds may also spread by clinging to farm machinery, vehicles, and animals or by contaminating agricultural produce (Alverson and Sigg, 2008).
Intentional Introduction

The principal means of long-distance dispersal has been its intentional introduction as an ornamental/landscaping and hedging/boundary plant. For these reasons, it was introduced to North America, South Africa and Australasia, and further introduction may be likely.

Pathway Causes

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CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Digestion and excretion Yes Bass et al., 2006
Escape from confinement or garden escape Yes Alverson and Sigg, 2008
Hedges and windbreaks Yes Yes Alverson and Sigg, 2008
Landscape improvement Yes Yes Alverson and Sigg, 2008
Nursery trade Yes Yes Alverson and Sigg, 2008
Ornamental purposes Yes Yes Alverson and Sigg, 2008

Pathway Vectors

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VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Land vehicles Yes Alverson and Sigg, 2008
Livestock Yes Alverson and Sigg, 2008
Machinery and equipment Yes Alverson and Sigg, 2008

Impact Summary

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Environment (generally) Positive and negative

Economic Impact

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There are clear positive impacts from the propagation and sale of C. monogyna and its many cultivars as ornamental plants, and also for the sale of seedlings or cuttings from commercial forestry nurseries for planting as hedges or in general landscaping. However, no exact data as to its economic contribution are forthcoming, and it may be expected that such exact figures would be difficult to estimate. Negative impacts are also increasing likely in the form of control programmes in natural areas of North America and Australasia where it is becoming a problematic invasive weed.

In addition, due it acting as a host for crop pests and pathogens or pests, it should not be planted near some crops, such as fruit trees and hops (Puszkar, 1981; Zajaczkowski, 1998).

Environmental Impact

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Hawthorn's thickets are shelters for many birds and little mammals, therefore, they are important for nature protection purposes, especially on agricultural or urbanized grounds.

However, where invasive, it displaces native plants, and dense thickets alter the structure of the forest understory and can make the movement of large animals difficult. Some species of Crataegus contain hydrocyanic acid in the leaves, which is poisonous to cattle, though the presence of this in C. monogyna is not yet known. Birds may prefer its berries to those of native berried plants, which may cause a reduction in the regeneration of native plants. Also, the ability of C. monogyna to hybridise with native species of Crataegus, means that there will be genetic pollution of the indigenous gene pool over time in invaded areas.

One nature preserve in Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA, has had to be abandoned because C. monogyna has invaded and there are not adequate resources to control it (Alverson and Sigg, 2008), and there is also a specific threat to the Garry Oak ecosystem of British Columbia, Canada.

Risk and Impact Factors

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Impact mechanisms

  • Competition - monopolizing resources
  • Competition - shading
  • Hybridization
  • Interaction with other invasive species
  • Pest and disease transmission
  • Pollen swamping

Impact outcomes

  • Changed gene pool/ selective loss of genotypes
  • Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
  • Modification of successional patterns
  • Monoculture formation
  • Reduced native biodiversity
  • Threat to/ loss of endangered species
  • Threat to/ loss of native species


  • Abundant in its native range
  • Has a broad native range
  • Has high genetic variability
  • Has high reproductive potential
  • Highly adaptable to different environments
  • Highly mobile locally
  • Long lived
  • Pioneering in disturbed areas
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Reproduces asexually
  • Tolerates, or benefits from, cultivation, browsing pressure, mutilation, fire etc

Likelihood of entry/control

  • Difficult to identify/detect as a commodity contaminant
  • Difficult to identify/detect in the field
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately


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C. monogyna is often planted in hedges and shelterbelts on farms and as an ornamental shrub or small tree in towns and cities and has been successfully used in revegetation and land reclamation of wastelands and mine spoils (Kluczynski, 1981; La Marca et al., 1998) as well as on polders in Holland (Peeters and Stuurman, 1981). The species is relatively tolerant to air pollution (Hirka, 1992) and as such seems to be particularly convenient for planting along roads and motorways. The spines deter grazing animals, and the plant is regarded as an impenetrable barrier to grazing. Seeds require stratification before sowing in spring, and 1-2-year-old seedlings or cuttings are used, the latter best in gaps within old hedges.

The wood of C. monogyna is narrow-ringed, extremely hard and durable and is sometimes used for the production of various small objects. The possibility of its utilisation for other purposes is limited by its low speed of growth. The flowers and fruits of hawthorn have been used in folk medicine for a long time and are now regarded as a precious raw material in production of important drugs to combat heart disease (e.g. Iwamoto et al., 1981), hypertension and allergies. The fruits of C. monogyna contain many vitamins, and are widely collected and consumed in some rural areas where native.

Uses List

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  • Agroforestry
  • Amenity
  • Boundary, barrier or support
  • Revegetation
  • Shade and shelter
  • Soil conservation
  • Wildlife habitat
  • Windbreak


  • Fuelwood


  • Ornamental

Human food and beverage

  • Emergency (famine) food
  • Fruits
  • Honey/honey flora


  • Carved material
  • Poisonous to mammals
  • Wood/timber

Medicinal, pharmaceutical

  • Source of medicine/pharmaceutical
  • Traditional/folklore


  • Propagation material

Wood Products

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  • Tool handles
  • Turnery
  • Wood carvings

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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Native Crataegus on the west coast of North America can be distinguished from the introduced C. monogyna as they generally have purple-black (not red) fruit, mostly unlobed (not lobed) leaves and 5 (not 1) styles. Hybrids also have purple-black fruits but have leaves and flowers with intermediate characters, such as partially lobed leaves and flowers with 2-3 styles.

Prevention and Control

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Cultural control and sanitary measures
Awareness-raising programmes are beginning to be put in place in western North America to educate the public and the horticultural industry about the risks posed by C. monogyna as an invasive species.
Physical/mechanical control
Small infestations of young plants can be hand pulled, preferably when the soil is moist, and taking care to minimize soil disturbance. Trees can be cut using a brush-cutter, hand saw or chainsaw as size and available equipment dictate. Regrowth will occur, however, unless the entire crown and the top few centimetres of the main roots are removed, or the stump is burnt. As for the best time to cut, there are various views. Some say in early summer. when the plant is actively growing and little is stored in the roots. Others note that cutting is probably most effective when about 20% of the flowers have gone to seed, but should not be carried out if native plants are still flowering or setting seed. Avoid cutting when the trees are full of berries as this will just aid their spread. Cut material should be taken off-site or burnt as it can regenerate from cuttings, but this will be difficult by hand due to the long, sharp thorns.
Movement control
Due to the widespread availability of C. monogyna as an ornamental and landscaping plant, attempts should be made to further restrict the movement of this plant to areas where it is not yet present.
Biological control
C. monogyna has no known effective biocontrol agents.
Chemical control

Larger plants can be cut to the ground and the stump treated with a 1:3 mixture of triclopyr (or glyphosate) and a light cooking oil as surfactant, and a 2-3% solution of triclopyr or glyphosate has been sprayed on the foliage for control, but this has not generally been reliable and is more likely to affect non-target species than are stump treatments (Alverson and Sigg, 2008).


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Alverson E; Sigg J, 2008. Crataegus monogyna datasheet. Davis, USA: University of California.

Amaral Franco J do, 1968. Crataegus L. In: Flora Europaea. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2:73-77.

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11/01/2008 Updated by:

Nick Pasiecznik, Consultant, France

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