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Crimson Cloud English Hawthorn flowers

Crimson Cloud English Hawthorn flowers

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Crimson Cloud English Hawthorn in bloom

Crimson Cloud English Hawthorn in bloom

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height: 20 feet

Spread: 20 feet


Hardiness Zone: 5a


A wonderful disease-resistant improvement on the species, makes a beautiful small accent tree for home landscapes; covered in reddish pink flowers with white centers in spring and showy scarlet fruit in fall, very thorny

Ornamental Features

Crimson Cloud English Hawthorn is covered in stunning clusters of crimson flowers with white centers held atop the branches in mid spring. It has forest green foliage throughout the season. The glossy lobed leaves do not develop any appreciable fall colour. The fruits are showy red pomes displayed from early fall to late winter.

Landscape Attributes

Crimson Cloud English Hawthorn is a deciduous tree with a more or less rounded form. Its average texture blends into the landscape, but can be balanced by one or two finer or coarser trees or shrubs for an effective composition.

This is a relatively low maintenance tree, and is best pruned in late winter once the threat of extreme cold has passed. Gardeners should be aware of the following characteristic(s) that may warrant special consideration;

  • Spiny

Crimson Cloud English Hawthorn is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Accent
  • Hedges/Screening

Planting & Growing

Crimson Cloud English Hawthorn will grow to be about 20 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 20 feet. It has a low canopy with a typical clearance of 4 feet from the ground, and is suitable for planting under power lines. It grows at a medium rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for 40 years or more.

This tree does best in full sun to partial shade. It is very adaptable to both dry and moist growing conditions, but will not tolerate any standing water. It is not particular as to soil type or pH. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution. This is a selected variety of a species not originally from North America.

Crimson Cloud Hawthorn
Crataegus laevigata ‘Crimson Cloud’
The Crimson Cloud Hawthorn is another great tree to put in your arsenal of small tough colorful landscape varieties. Of greatest significance is the fact that it is the perfect substitute for the very problematic Paul’s Scarlet Hawthorn. Do not consider using Paul’s Scarlet unless you want defoliated trees by early August. The Crimson Cloud Hawthorn is resistant to the leaf blight that afflicts the Paul’s Scarlet Hawthorn. The Crimson Cloud is similar in size and form, and the flowers are equal, if not superior, to the Paul’s Scarlet. Although the flowers might be small, they are plentiful and spectacular in color, detail, and fragrance. Oh, the fragrance!
This tree is perfect for a small up-close garden specimen, or tough enough to be a long-lived street tree. Beware, however, that plentiful flowers attract plentiful bees for a short period of time. The temporary inconvenience (if you believe bees are an inconvenience) is well worth it.
Leaf form is relatively small, ½ to 2 ½ inches long and ⅔ times as wide, with 3 to 5 serrulate, obtuse, or acutish lobes. Lobes are rounded and pointed, cuneate, glaborous, and dark green as described by Dirr. The flowers are a dark pinkish red with a white star in the center, which turn to glossy red fruits of relatively small size, no more than ½ inch long. Form can be a little erratic if not staked and properly pruned in early life. Laterals can become a little leggy and grow in all directions. Some folks actually like this characteristic, which is so different than the predictable maples and oaks.
This Hawthorn is thorn-less. The ultimate size is around 25′ tall by 20’ wide. We have found them to be fairly easy to transplant, and they are somewhat drought tolerant. This tree becomes tougher with age, and I predict it to be a long-lived tree in favorable conditions. The Crimson Cloud Hawthorn is one more example of a little-known and underused tough urban tree that more folks should consider.
As always, let me know your experience with this and other trees in the urban landscape.
Jim Barborinas
ISA Certified Arborist #0135
ASCA Registered Consulting Arborist #356
Certified Tree Risk Assessor #PNW-0327

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