Jan. 27, 2017

downy hawthorn, Crataegus mollis

We will take our lumps with this one. Botanists are lumpers or splitters, and hawthorns may be disliked by both. Crataegus is a very complex genus. Most species will hybridize with most others. They produce plants with literally a bewildering array of characters. Lumpers group them together in relatively few broader groups. Splitters attempt to describe differing species based on all the possible combinations of traits. Holmgren shows 22 species in his illustrated manual for the northeast. Fernald in his updated Gray's Manual lists 103. Fortunately, for this site, they are all attractive in flower and in fruit. According to the USDA, the downy lump grows in AL, AR, CT, GA, IA, IL, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MO, MN, MS, ND, NE, NH, NY(E), OH, OK, PA, SD, TN, TX, VA, VT, WI, WV, NS, ON, and QC. Lenawee Co MI, 5/14/11