Crataegus monogyna (hawthorn)
- Summary of Invasiveness
- Taxonomic Tree
- Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature
- Plant Type
- Distribution Table
- History of Introduction and Spread
- Risk of Introduction
- Habitat List
- Biology and Ecology
- Latitude/Altitude Ranges
- Air Temperature
- Rainfall Regime
- Soil Tolerances
- Notes on Natural Enemies
- Means of Movement and Dispersal
- Pathway Causes
- Pathway Vectors
- Impact Summary
- Economic Impact
- Environmental Impact
- Risk and Impact Factors
- Uses List
- Wood Products
- Similarities to Other Species/Conditions
- Prevention and Control
- Distribution Maps
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PicturesTop of page
IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
- Crataegus monogyna Jacq.
Preferred Common Name
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
- CSCMO (Crataegus monogyna)
Summary of InvasivenessTop of page
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 TreeTop of page
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Phylum: Spermatophyta
- Subphylum: Angiospermae
- Class: Dicotyledonae
- Order: Rosales
- Family: Rosaceae
- Genus: Crataegus
- Species: Crataegus monogyna
Notes on Taxonomy and NomenclatureTop of page
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.
DescriptionTop of page
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 TypeTop of page Broadleaved
DistributionTop of page
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 TableTop of page
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.Last updated: 10 Jan 2020
|Continent/Country/Region||Distribution||Last Reported||Origin||First Reported||Invasive||Planted||Reference||Notes|
|South Africa||Present||Introduced||Invasive||Reichard et al. (2001)|
|India||Present||Planted||CABI Data Mining (Undated)|
|-Jammu and Kashmir||Present||Planted||CABI Data Mining (Undated)|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||Present||CABI (2005)|
|Federal Republic of Yugoslavia||Present||Native||USDA-ARS (2007)|
|North Macedonia||Present||CABI (2005)|
|-Central Russia||Present||Native||Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (2007)|
|-Southern Russia||Present||Native||USDA-ARS (2007)|
|San Marino||Present||CABI (2005)|
|-Balearic Islands||Present||CABI (2005)|
|United Kingdom||Present||Native||Planted||USDA-ARS (2007)|
|-British Columbia||Present||Introduced||Invasive||USDA-NRCS (2007)|
|-New Brunswick||Present||Introduced||USDA-NRCS (2007)|
|-Nova Scotia||Present||Introduced||USDA-NRCS (2007)|
|-Prince Edward Island||Present||Introduced||USDA-NRCS (2007)|
|United States||Present||Introduced||Planted||CABI (2005)||First reported: 1800s|
|-New Hampshire||Present||Introduced||USDA-NRCS (2007)|
|-New Jersey||Present||Introduced||USDA-NRCS (2007)|
|-New York||Present||Introduced||Invasive||Hunter and Mattice (2002); USDA-NRCS (2007)|
|-Rhode Island||Present||Introduced||USDA-NRCS (2007)|
|-West Virginia||Present||Introduced||USDA-NRCS (2007)|
|Australia||Present||Introduced||Invasive||Planted||Australia, Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney (2007)|
|-New South Wales||Present||Introduced||Invasive||Planted||Bass et al. (2006)|
|-Queensland||Present||Introduced||Australia, Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney (2007)|
|-South Australia||Present||Introduced||Australia, Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney (2007)|
|-Tasmania||Present||Introduced||Australia, Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney (2007)|
|-Victoria||Present||Introduced||Australia, Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney (2007)|
|New Zealand||Present||Introduced||1899||Invasive||Planted||Owen (1996)|
History of Introduction and SpreadTop of page
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 IntroductionTop of page
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.
HabitatTop of page
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 ListTop of page
|Terrestrial – Managed||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|
|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|
|Disturbed areas||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Disturbed areas||Present, no further details||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|
|Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-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|
|Wetlands||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Wetlands||Present, no further details||Natural|
|Scrub / shrublands||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Scrub / shrublands||Present, no further details||Natural|
|Coastal areas||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Coastal areas||Present, no further details||Natural|
Biology and EcologyTop of page
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.
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.
ClimateTop of page
|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 RangesTop of page
|Latitude North (°N)||Latitude South (°S)||Altitude Lower (m)||Altitude Upper (m)|
Air TemperatureTop of page
|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|
RainfallTop of page
|Parameter||Lower limit||Upper limit||Description|
|Dry season duration||0||7||number of consecutive months with <40 mm rainfall|
|Mean annual rainfall||400||1400||mm; lower/upper limits|
Rainfall RegimeTop of page Bimodal
Soil TolerancesTop of page
Special soil tolerances
Notes on Natural EnemiesTop of page
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 DispersalTop of page
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 CausesTop of page
|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 VectorsTop of page
Impact SummaryTop of page
|Environment (generally)||Positive and negative|
Economic ImpactTop of page
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.
Environmental ImpactTop of page
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 FactorsTop of page Invasiveness
- Proved invasive outside its native range
- Has a broad native range
- Abundant in its native range
- Highly adaptable to different environments
- Tolerates, or benefits from, cultivation, browsing pressure, mutilation, fire etc
- Pioneering in disturbed areas
- Highly mobile locally
- Long lived
- Has high reproductive potential
- Reproduces asexually
- Has high genetic variability
- 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
- Competition - monopolizing resources
- Competition - shading
- Pest and disease transmission
- Interaction with other invasive species
- Pollen swamping
- Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately
- Difficult to identify/detect as a commodity contaminant
- Difficult to identify/detect in the field
UsesTop of page
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 ListTop of page
- Boundary, barrier or support
- Shade and shelter
- Soil conservation
- Wildlife habitat
Human food and beverage
- Emergency (famine) food
- Honey/honey flora
- Carved material
- Poisonous to mammals
- Source of medicine/pharmaceutical
- Propagation material
Wood ProductsTop of page
- Tool handles
- Wood carvings
Similarities to Other Species/ConditionsTop of page
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 ControlTop of page
Due to the variable regulations around (de)registration of pesticides, your national list of registered pesticides or relevant authority should be consulted to determine which products are legally allowed for use in your country when considering chemical control. Pesticides should always be used in a lawful manner, consistent with the product's label.
Cultural control and sanitary measures
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).
ReferencesTop of page
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USDA-ARS, 2007. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Online Database. In: Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Online Database, Beltsville, USA: National Germplasm Resources Laboratory. http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs/html/tax_search.pl
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ContributorsTop of page
11/01/2008 Updated by:
Nick Pasiecznik, Consultant, France
Distribution MapsTop of page
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