Plant Data Sheet


Crataegus douglasii    Black hawthorn



Southeast Alaska to northern California and east to Colorado.

Climate, elevation

Lower elevations, 670-1645 m.

Habitat preferences

Dry to moist areas, well-drained sandy or gravelly soil.  Wetland, riparian and upland sites.  Also steep slopes.  Full sun to part shade.  Takes all exposures if there is enough soil moisture.

Plant strategy type/successional stage

Understory dominant.  Most often understory in sites dominated by ponderosa pine or cottonwood.  Thicket forming. Pure hawthorn stands have understory of snowberry or chokecherry. Does not occur normally on disturbed sites.

Associated species

Black cottonwood, Eastern cottonwood, quaking aspen, ponderosa pine, snowberry, rose, and chokecherry.


May be collected as:

Seed or a savaged plant.  Can also propagate through layering and rooting of suckers.

Collection restrictions or guidelines

Number of seeds per fruit variable.  Seeds ripen in July/August and are dispersed in the fall.  The seed is quickly taken by birds so try to collect as soon as fruit ripens.  If fruit persists, it can be pulled from the tree.  Otherwise, pick fruit from the ground.  It is best to extract fruit immediately.  To extract, macerate fruit in water and let pulp float.  If seeds are not to be extracted from the fruit right away, spread the fruit in a single layer to prevent excessive heating. 

Seed germination

Cold stratification at 5C for 84-112 days.   Some report better results with acid scarification for 0.5 -3 hours before cold stratification.  Acid scarification should not be done until seeds have dried for a few weeks.  Some seeds may not germinate regardless of treatment.  Germination rate is 50-80%.

Seed life

2-3 years in proper storage.

Recommended seed storage conditions

Air-dry and store at 5C.

Propagation recommendations (plant seeds, vegetative parts, cuttings, etc.)

Sow in early fall before the first frost.  Sow in trays containing ordinary soil.  Sow seeds thickly, some with not germinate until the second spring.  Place trays in an unheated area.  If seeds have been stored and pre-treated, sow in spring.

Soil or medium requirements

No inoculum necessary.

Installation form

Container plant grown from seed or a savaged plant.  Plants quickly grow taproot and should be moved to permanent location as quickly as possible.  Seedlings should not be kept in a nursery for longer than 1 year.

Recommended planting density

If sowing directly outside, seed in rows 20-30 cm apart and cover with .6 cm soil.

Normal rate of growth or spread; lifespan

Will grow 2 feet per year in the first few years.  Will grow to a 20-30 foot tree or a 10-foot shrub.

Sources cited

Leigh, M. 1997.  Grow Your Own Native Plant Landscape. Washington State University Co-operative Extension.


Rose, R., Chachulski, C. and Huose, D. 1998. Propagation of Pacific Northwest Native Plants. Corvallis, OR: Oregon State University Press.

Young, J. and Young, C. 1992. Seeds of Woody Plants of North America. Portland, OR: Dioscorides Press.


Data compiled by       Katie McGowan    May 15, 2003