Broad-leaved cockspurthorn Crataegus persimilis 'Prunifolia'

👤 Non-toxic to humans
🐾 Non-toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
broad-leaved cockspur thorn 'Prunifolia'


The plant commonly known as the Broad-Leaved Hawthorn is a deciduous tree that is renowned for its ornamental qualities. It has a broad, spreading crown with a dense growth habit that gives it a robust appearance. The leaves of this Hawthorn are distinctive, resembling those of plum trees; they are glossy and dark green, with a shape that tapers to a point. The edges of the leaves have serrations, giving them a slightly toothed look that adds texture to the foliage. As seasons change, so does the appearance of the Broad-Leaved Hawthorn. In springtime, the tree is adorned with clusters of white flowers that have a delicate appearance. Each flower is quite small, but they come together in bunches that create a showy display. These flowers are not only visually appealing, but they also emit a pleasant fragrance that can attract various pollinators. Following the flowering season, the Broad-Leaved Hawthorn produces small, round fruits. These berries start as a green color and gradually ripen to a deep red as the colder months approach. The fruits are often appreciated by wildlife, such as birds, who find them to be a valuable food source. In autumn, the leaves undergo a dramatic transformation. The green foliage takes on fiery hues of orange, red, and yellow before they eventually fall off as winter nears. This seasonal color change provides an extended period of visual interest and makes the Broad-Leaved Hawthorn an excellent choice for adding year-round appeal to landscapes. Despite the shedding of leaves, the tree's sturdy branches and attractive bark provide structure and interest even in the absence of foliage, making it a captivating presence in a garden throughout the year.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Broad-leaved Cockspur Thorn, Plumleaf Hawthorn, Prunifolia Hawthorn

    • Common names

      Crataegus prunifolia, Crataegus persimilis.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      The Broad-leaved Cockspur Thorn (Crataegus persimilis 'Prunifolia') is generally considered non-toxic to humans. This species of hawthorn typically does not pose a poisoning risk under normal circumstances. However, the seeds found within the fruit contain amygdalin, which can release cyanide when metabolized. Accidental ingestion of large quantities of seeds could potentially lead to cyanide poisoning, whose symptoms include difficulty breathing, weakness, confusion, and can be fatal if not treated promptly. Nonetheless, such cases are rare, and the plant parts, including the fruit flesh, are safe when the seeds are avoided or properly processed.

    • To pets

      The Broad-leaved Cockspur Thorn (Crataegus persimilis 'Prunifolia') is generally considered non-toxic to pets as well. As with humans, the concern with ingestion lies primarily with the seeds, which contain amygdalin. This compound can release cyanide during digestion. If a pet ingests a large amount of seeds, they might experience cyanide poisoning. Symptoms can include vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, and lethargy. In severe cases, poisoning can be fatal. However, such incidents are uncommon, as the flesh of the fruit itself is not toxic and pets would need to consume a significant quantity of seeds to be at risk.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      20 feet (6 meters)

    • Spread

      20 feet (6 meters)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area

      North America


  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Aesthetic Appeal: Crataegus persimilis 'Prunifolia', also known as the Broad-leaved Cockspur Thorn, is known for its attractive white flowers in spring and striking red foliage and berries in autumn, providing year-round visual interest.
    • Habitat for Wildlife: The berries provide an important food source for birds and other wildlife, especially in winter when other food sources are scarce.
    • Durable: The Broad-leaved Cockspur Thorn is known for its hardiness, able to tolerate a wide range of soil conditions and urban pollution, making it suitable for city environments.
    • Shade Provider: Its canopy offers a cool shade during sunny days, making it a functional addition to gardens, parks, and streets.
    • Erosion Control: Its root system helps stabilize the soil and prevent erosion, particularly helpful in sloped or disturbed areas.
    • Privacy and Screening: With its dense growth, it can be used as a privacy screen or to block unsightly views.
    • Windbreak: When planted in rows, it can act as a windbreak, protecting gardens and homes from strong winds.
    • Supports Biodiversity: By providing food and shelter, it supports local biodiversity, promoting a balance in the ecosystem.
    • Compact Size: Reaches a manageable height, making it a good choice for smaller gardens or spaces with height restrictions.
    • Low Maintenance: Requires minimal care once established, making it a convenient choice for both novice and experienced gardeners.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    • Cardiotonic Activity: Crataegus species are traditionally known to have heart-related benefits, particularly in the support of cardiovascular health.
    • Antioxidant Effects: Some studies suggest that Crataegus possesses antioxidant properties that help protect against cell damage due to free radicals.
    • Anxiolytic Potential: Although more commonly associated with other species of Crataegus, there is some evidence to suggest that these plants may possess mild anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) effects.
    • Hypotensive Actions: Components of Crataegus, including Crataegus persimilis 'Prunifolia', may contribute to reducing high blood pressure, although this usage would typically be as part of a broader traditional herbal formula.
    Reference: These uses are common to the Crataegus genus and are included in various ethnobotanical and phytotherapy texts. However, scientific evidence and official medical endorsements for specific uses of Crataegus persimilis 'Prunifolia' may be limited. It's crucial to consult with a healthcare provider before using any plant for medicinal purposes.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Wildlife Habitat: Hawthorn serves as shelter and nesting sites for birds and small mammals.
    • Edible Fruit: While not commonly consumed, hawthorn berries can be made into jellies, jams, or even wine.
    • Woodworking: The wood from hawthorn is hard and can be used to make small wooden objects or turned items on a lathe.
    • Fence Hedging: Due to its dense growth, hawthorn can be used to create living fences or hedges for privacy and wind protection.
    • Dye Production: The berries and leaves can potentially be used to create natural dyes for textiles.
    • Thorny Barrier: The plant's thorns can act as a deterrent against unwanted wildlife or human intrusion.
    • Garden Design: Hawthorn is used ornamentally for its attractive flowers and fall color in landscape design.
    • Soil Stabilization: The root system of hawthorn helps prevent soil erosion on slopes or banks.
    • Seasonal Decor: The bright red berries and branches are sometimes used in floral arrangements, especially during the winter months.
    • Traditional Craft Materials: Its branches and thorns have been historically used to create fishing hooks or in basketry.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Broadleaf Cockspur Thorn is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Broadleaf Cockspur Thorn is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Hope and Protection: The most common common name of Crataegus persimilis 'Prunifolia' is the Broad-leaved Cockspur Thorn. Historically, hawthorn trees, which are in the genus Crataegus, have been associated with hope due to their prolific spring blossoms and with protection because of their thorny nature.
    • Love and Marriage: In some cultures, the hawthorn tree is a symbol of love and is often associated with the month of May, a popular time for weddings. Its flowers have been used in various ceremonies to symbolize love and unity.
    • Home and Hearth: Because hawthorn trees are often found in hedges, they can represent the comfort of home and the boundaries that protect family life.
    • Magical Protection: Folklore often attributes the hawthorn tree with magical properties, including the ability to ward off evil spirits. Planting a hawthorn near one's home was thought to offer protection.
    • Renewal and Growth: The hawthorn's robust nature and its ability to produce flowers and fruit in abundance symbolize personal growth, renewal, and the blossoming of new ventures.

Every 1-2 weeks
500 - 2500 Lux
Not needed
Spring-Early Summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    The Broadleaf Cockspur Hawthorn should be watered deeply, allowing the water to reach the roots, but avoiding oversaturation. Young trees benefit from watering once a week during dry periods with about 15 to 20 gallons per watering to establish a strong root system. Once established, they are more drought-tolerant and may require less frequent watering, depending on weather conditions. During the growing season, check the soil moisture regularly; it should be moist but not soggy. In the absence of rain, a good rule of thumb is to water your Hawthorn every 2 to 3 weeks with about 20 gallons each time.

  • sunLight

    The Broadleaf Cockspur Hawthorn prefers to be planted in full sun to partial shade conditions. It thrives best with at least 6 hours of direct sunlight each day, which ensures healthy growth and plentiful flowering. An ideal spot would be in an open area with ample morning light and some afternoon shade, especially in areas with intense summer heat.

  • thermometerTemperature

    The Broadleaf Cockspur Hawthorn is cold-hardy and can survive in temperatures as low as -20 degrees Fahrenheit. It grows well in a wide range of temperatures, making it suitable for various climates, but the ideal temperature range for this plant is between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Extreme heat above 95 degrees Fahrenheit can stress the plant; thus, providing some afternoon shade in hotter regions is beneficial.

  • scissorsPruning

    Prune the Broadleaf Cockspur Hawthorn to maintain its shape and remove any dead or diseased branches. The best time for pruning is during the dormant season in late winter to early spring before new growth starts. Periodic thinning of the canopy helps to improve air circulation and light penetration, which can reduce disease incidence. Generally, pruning once a year is adequate for maintaining the health and appearance of the tree.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    The Broadleaf Cockspur Thorn, or Crataegus persimilis 'Prunifolia', thrives in well-draining loamy soil with a slightly acidic to neutral pH of 6.0 to 7.0. The ideal soil mix should incorporate organic matter like compost to enhance nutrients and maintain soil structure. Consistent moisture without waterlogging is key for optimal growth.

  • plantRepotting

    Broadleaf Cockspur Thorn doesn't typically require repotting as it is a tree best grown outdoors. When young and grown in a nursery setting, it may need repotting or planting out into the landscape roughly every 1-2 years until it's established in a permanent location.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Broadleaf Cockspur Thorn prefers outdoor conditions where humidity is not a critical factor. It is adaptable to a variety of outdoor climates and does not require specific humidity levels to thrive, though normal outdoor ambient humidity is generally sufficient.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Not suitable for indoor growth, needs open outdoor space.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in full sun, well-draining soil, with regular watering.

    • Hardiness zone

      4-7 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Crataegus persimilis 'Prunifolia', commonly known as Broad-leaved Cockspurthorn, begins its life as a seed, which upon germination in suitable conditions, grows into a small sapling. As the sapling matures, it develops a sturdy trunk and a spreading canopy, and transitions into its vegetative stage, characterized by dark green, glossy leaves. During spring, the plant enters its reproductive stage, producing attractive white flowers that are pollinated by insects, leading to the development of small red pome fruit in late summer to fall. After fruiting, the tree enters a period of dormancy during the winter months, conserving energy by shedding leaves. Over several years, the Broad-leaved Cockspurthorn reaches maturity and can live for decades, continuing its annual cycle of growth, flowering, and fruiting. Eventually, as it enters the senescence stage, growth slows and the plant may become more susceptible to diseases and environmental stress, leading to its eventual decline and death.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring-Early Summer

    • The most popular method of propagation for the Washington Hawthorn (Crataegus persimilis 'Prunifolia') is through seed sowing. Seeds require a period of cold stratification to break dormancy, which simulates the natural process of overwintering. To achieve this, seeds are typically mixed with damp sand and stored in a refrigerator at temperatures around 34 to 40°F (1 to 4°C) for around 3-4 months. After stratification, seeds are sown in a well-draining soil mix, about 1 to 2 inches (2.5 to 5 centimeters) deep, and are kept moist until germination, which can take several weeks to a few months. Seedlings are then carefully transplanted to their growing location when they are large enough to handle, typically after a year or when they reach a height of at least 6 to 12 inches (15 to 30 centimeters).