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Crataegus phaenopyrum 'Fastigiata': 'Fastigiata' Washington Hawthorn

Edward F. Gilman, Dennis G. Watson, Ryan W. Klein, and Deborah R. Hilbert


This cultivar of Washington hawthorn grows 20 to 25 feet tall in a narrow pyramidal or columnar shape. The tree has a rapid growth rate when young, slowing with age. It is tolerant of many different soil types. The small, white, abundant flowers, produced in clusters in late spring are followed by showy orange to red fruit that persist into winter, if not eaten by birds. The fall leaf color is orange to red and can be quite striking.

Figure 1. Young Crataegus phaenopyrum 'Fastigiata': 'Fastigiata' Washington Hawthorn
Figure 1.  Young Crataegus phaenopyrum 'Fastigiata': 'Fastigiata' Washington hawthorn.


General Information

Scientific name: Crataegus phaenopyrum

Pronunciation: kruh-TEE-gus fee-no-PYE-rum

Common name(s): 'Fastigiata' Washington hawthorn

Family: Rosaceae

USDA hardiness zones: 4A through 8A (Figure 2)

Origin: native to North America

Invasive potential: native cultivar

Uses: urban tolerant; Bonsai; highway median; street without sidewalk; specimen; screen

Figure 2. Range
Figure 2.  Range.



Height: 20 to 25 feet

Spread: 10 to 15 feet

Crown uniformity: symmetrical

Crown shape: upright/erect, columnar

Crown density: moderate

Growth rate: moderate

Texture: medium


Leaf arrangement: alternate (Figure 3)

Leaf type: simple

Leaf margin: serrate, lobed

Leaf shape: ovate

Leaf venation: pinnate

Leaf type and persistence: deciduous

Leaf blade length: less than 2 inches, 2 to 4 inches

Leaf color: green

Fall color: copper

Fall characteristic: not showy

Figure 3. Foliage
Figure 3.  Foliage



Flower color: white/cream/gray

Flower characteristics: showy


Fruit shape: round

Fruit length: less than 0.5 inch

Fruit covering: fleshy

Fruit color: orange, red

Fruit characteristics: attracts birds; showy; fruit/leaves not a litter problem

Trunk and Branches

Trunk/bark/branches: branches don't droop; not showy; typically one trunk; no thorns

Pruning requirement: needed for strong structure

Breakage: susceptible to breakage

Current year twig color: brown

Current year twig thickness: thin

Wood specific gravity: unknown


Light requirement: full sun

Soil tolerances: sand; loam; clay; acidic; alkaline; well-drained

Drought tolerance: high

Aerosol salt tolerance: low


Roots: not a problem

Winter interest: yes

Outstanding tree: no

Ozone sensitivity: unknown

Verticillium wilt susceptibility: resistant

Pest resistance: sensitive to pests/diseases

Use and Management

This hawthorn is quite useful as a street or median strip tree where there will not be heavy pedestrian traffic. The thorns are one- to three-inches long and contact with them can be painful. Left unpruned it creates a nice specimen in a lawn with lower branches persisting all the way to the ground. This characteristic also makes it quite suitable as a screen if planted on eight-foot centers. The bright fruit makes a show in the fall and winter, which many people will comment on. Like other hawthorns, the major problem with the tree is sensitivity to a large variety of insects and diseases.


Aphids can be controlled with strong sprays of water from a garden hose, if the colony is in the lower branches. Sometimes the aphids themselves are not seen but the distorted growth, honeydew on the leaves, and sooty mold growing on the honeydew are obvious.

Borer attacks may be prevented if the trees are kept in good vigor with regular fertilization.

Leaf miners symptoms are brown blotches on the leaves.

Lace bugs can be a serious, though occasional, problem. The insect feeding on the undersides of the leaves causes chlorotic flecks on the upper leaf surfaces. The lower sides of the leaves are covered with small, brown, sticky flecks.

The pear slug skeletonizes Hawthorn leaves and these sawfly larvae have a slimy appearance. A few insects can be washed off with a garden hose.

Tent caterpillar nests can be pruned out while still small. Sprays of Bacillus thuringiensis may be used. Do not burn nests while the nests are in the tree. The injury from the fire may exceed that caused by the insects.

Scales may be controlled with horticultural oil sprays.

Spider mites are so small they can cause much foliage discoloration before being detected.


Fire blight: This disease can be severe in some parts of the country. The first noticeable symptom of fire blight is the browning of branch tips. The tips appear to be burned or scorched and the dead, brown leaves droop but hang on the tree. Cankers form and the bacteria is washed farther down the branch by rain. The bacteria are spread from diseased to healthy twigs by rain, bees, and other mechanical means. There is no satisfactory chemical control. The disease is less of a problem if trees are not located near apple or pear orchards. Prune out blighted branch tips by cutting a foot or two beyond the diseased wood. Over-fertilizing with nitrogen fertilizer may increase tree susceptibility to fire blight.

Leaf blight attacks most hawthorns but especially English hawthorn. The symptoms are small reddish-brown spots on the leaves which may run together. Infected leaves drop in August and severely infected trees may be completely bare.

Cedar hawthorn rust causes orange or rust colored spots on the leaves leading to early defoliation. The fruits and twigs are also attacked. Juniper is an alternate host. Cedar-quince rust attacks fruits. Washington, lavelle, and cockspur hawthorn are resistant to rust diseases.

Scab causes leaf spotting and defoliation. The fruit have black raised spots on them.

Powdery mildew causes a white powdery growth on the leaves.

Publication #ENH372

Release Date:February 28, 2024

Related Collections

Part of Southern Trees Fact Sheets

Related Topics

  • Critical Issue: 1. Agricultural and Horticultural Enterprises
Organism ID

About this Publication

This document is ENH372, one of a series of the Department of Environmental Horticulture, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date November 1993. Revised December 2006 and January 2024. Visit the EDIS website at for the currently supported version of this publication.

About the Authors

Edward F. Gilman, professor emeritus; Dennis G. Watson, former associate professor, Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering; Ryan W. Klein, assistant professor, arboriculture; and Deborah R. Hilbert, UF/IFAS Gulf Coast Research and Education Center; Department of Environmental Horticulture; UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.


  • Michael Andreu
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