Plant Guide > Trees > Hawthorns > Scarlet Haw Tree

Scarlet Haw Tree

Scarlet Haw TreeScarlet Haw (C. pruinosa, K. Koch.)-Small tree, 15 to 20 feet high, spreading irregular head of horizontal limbs. Thorns numerous, stout, straight, 1 to 1 1/2 inches long. Bark grey, thin, in loose scales. Wood hard, heavy, close grained. Buds small, blunt, scaly. Leaves ovate or elliptical, acute, lobed and serrate, except on entire base; dark blue-green, smooth, leathery, paler beneath; 1 to 1 1/2 inches long, on slender petioles; autumn colour orange.

Flowers, May, white, 1 inch broad, in few-flowered corymbs, stems long smooth; stamens 20, with long, rose-coloured anthers; styles 5, tufted. Fruit sub-globose, 1/2 to 5/8 inch in diameter, with erect calyx, green with hoary bloom until ripe, then purplish red and lustrous with pale dots. Nutlets 5, deeply ridged, enclosed in dry, thick flesh. Preferred habitat, limestone soil of slopes.

Distribution, Vermont to southern slopes of Appalachian Mountains; west to Illinois and Missouri. Uses: Valuable ornamental tree over wide territory.

There is a pale bloom on the green fruit of this tree, which wears off at length, and the skin becomes shiny and dark, purplish red. The leaves, too, have a bluish green cast through the summer, but turn to orange at last. This is one of the handsome native thorn trees, a long time confused with C. coccinea.

Scarlet Haw picture