The Green Hawthorn is a native hawthorn tree that has rich green leaves and abundant clusters of white, 5-petalled flowers in the spring. In the autumn, the branches are covered with clusters of bright red fruits that persist on the tree in the winter. It is widely grown as an ornamental tree for its flowers and for its ornamental and colorful fruits. C, viridis is native to the southeastern U.S. from Virginia to Florida west to Texas and up the Mississippi River valley to Illinois. It grows in woodlands, lowlands and along streams. It is a dense, rounded, largely spineless tree that typically grows 20-35’ tall with a broad spreading crown. Gray stems are clad with serrate, ovate to elliptic, glossy dark green leaves (to 3 1/2” long) that are shallowly lobed in the upper half. When present, thorns grow to 1 1/2” long. Leaves turn purple to red in fall. Fragrant, 5-petaled, white flowers in 2-inch clusters (corymbs) bloom in May. Flowers are followed by small red fruits (pomes) that ripen in September and usually persist on the tree well into winter. Fruits are edible. The fruit may be harvested to make jelly. Bark on mature trunks exfoliates to reveal orange inner bark.
Garden Uses. Excellent spring flowering tree for lawns and streets. Good fall color and persistent fruit help provide year round interest. Pollution tolerance makes it a good candidate for urban plantings. It is one of the most disease-resistant hawthorns. Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerates light shade and drought. Moist, rich, fertile soils may encourage unwanted succulent growth. Tolerant of urban pollution. Hardy in zones 4-9.
The seeds have a period of dormancy. They can be planted outdoors in the fall or winter for spring germination or they can be cold stratified to simulate winter conditions and to break their dormancy at any time of the year.
- Soak the seeds in water for 24 hours.
- Put the seeds in a ziplock bag.
- Put the bag in the refrigerator and leave it there for 4 months.
- The seeds like moist, well-drained soil. Prepare a mixture of half potting soil and half sand, perlite or vermiculite. Put the soil in a pot.
- Sow the seeds on the soil.
- Cover the seeds with a layer of soil.
- Water the soil so that it is moist but not wet.
- When the seedlings are a few inches tall, they can be transplanted.