Missouri State Flower
Hawthorn (common name)
Crataegus (scientific name)
There are many varieties of hawthorn in the Northern Hemisphere. The bushes or trees, related to both roses and apples, grow in North America, Europe, and Asia. Of the 100 or so kinds of hawthorn that grow in Missouri, no particular type was specified when the blossom became a state emblem in 1923. The tree’s blossoms are generally white or very pale pink, featuring five small round petals around a cluster of yellow stamens growing in clusters of 5 to 25 at the ends of branches. Blooming in May or very early June, they may or may not be fragrant.
Small flies pollinate the bisexual flowers, which give way to little bright red fruits similar to tiny crab apples, called haws, each with one seed inside. These haws usually become ripe before frost and are a source of fall and winter food for birds such as the robin and purple finch, small animals including opossums and squirrels, and even deer.
The trees can start producing haws five to 20 years after they’re planted, depending on the variety. Young trees normally have smooth, gray bark, though as the trees mature the trunks become darker and scaly. Branches have long, slightly curved thorns that protect the tree from large animals. This very feature makes it attractive to many birds, which use hawthorn trees to create protected nesting sites. The trees are quite adaptable, and can grow almost anywhere there is space for them, though they prefer a sunny location.
Plant: Small, shrubby tree
Mature Height: 16–49 ft (5–15 m) tall
Flowering: May through June
Flowers: 1–1.5 in (2.5–3.8 cm), with five round petals, many stamens
Flower Color: White to very light pink
Leaves: .75–1.5 in (2–4 cm) long, teardrop-shaped with three deep lobes
Fruit/Seed Color: Red haws, tan seeds
Location: Fields and woods
Range: United States, most of Canada, Europe, parts of northern Asia
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|Author: World Trade Press|