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Crataegus tanacetifolia (Lam.) Pers.

Modern name

Crataegus tanacetifolia (Poir.) Pers.


Mespilus tanacetifolia Lam.

A small, mostly unarmed tree up to 35 ft high, with erect branches and a trunk occasionally 5 ft in girth; young shoots clothed with a thick grey wool, which persists partially on year-old shoots. Leaves 1 to 2 in. long, nearly or quite as wide, tapered at the base; obovate or diamond-shaped in outline, but cut into five or seven parallel, narrow-oblong lobes, often reaching nearly to the midrib; the lobes more or less glandular-toothed, especially towards the points; both surfaces permanently hairy; stalk 13 to 14 in. long; stipules large, curved, toothed. Flowers fragrant, white, 1 in. across, produced in mid-June in rounded clusters of six to eight blossoms; calyx covered with a pale grey felt; stamens twenty, with red anthers; styles five. Fruit globose, yellow, or suffused with red, partially downy, 34 to 1 in. across, with the scent and somewhat the taste of the apple. Closely attached at and near the base are one or more deeply cut, moss-like bracts.

Native of Asia Minor, Syria, etc.; introduced in 1789. Belonging to the same group as C. laciniata, this handsome thorn is not common. C. laciniata often does duty for it, but the present tree can always be distinguished by the gland-toothed leaves and glandular laciniate bract, or bracts, attached at the base of the fruit. It is a slow-growing tree. There used to be a fine specimen at the entrance to Messrs Cunningham & Fraser’s nursery at Edinburgh; another at Arley Castle, near Bewdley. At the present time there is a fine specimen in the Cambridge Botanic Garden, 28 ft high with a bole 2 ft in diameter and a spread of 24 ft (1965).



Other species in the genus