Crataegus phaenopyrum is a species of hawthorn commonly known as Washington hawthorn or Washington thorn. It is widely grown as an ornamental plant, and can reach 10 m (about 32 feet) in height. The small red berry-like fruit grow closely together in large clusters and are food for squirrels and birds. They have a mild flavor and can be eaten raw or cooked. As with other species of hawthorn, the wood is hard and can be used to make tools.
Crataegus phaenopyrum, commonly called Washington hawthorn, is native to Missouri where it is primarily found in open ground, thickets and wood margins in the Ozark region of the state (Steyermark). It is noted for its attractive flowers and foliage, bright red fruits and fall color. It is a small, low-branching, deciduous tree that typically grows 25-30’ tall with a rounded crown. Thorny stems are clad with shallowly lobed, serrate, glossy dark green leaves (to 2 1/2” long). Leaves turn attractive shades of orange and red in fall. Fragrant, 5-petaled, white flowers in clusters (corymbs) bloom in late spring. Flowers are followed in fall by bright red 1/4” diameter globose fruits (pomes) that persist throughout the winter. The fruit is sometimes called a haw. The word haw also means hedge, the hawthorn thus being a thorny hedge. Washington hawthorn is native from Virginia to Missouri, Arkansas and Alabama.Genus name comes from the Greek name for the tree. From kratos meaning strength for its strong, hard wood.
Specific epithet comes from Greek meaning resembling a pear, in probable reference to the flowers. Washington hawthorn reportedly was first grown commercially near Washington, D.C. in the late 1700s, hence the common name.