Quickthorn or Crataegus is perhaps more widely known or used as hedging with the native Crataegus monogyna being the variety of choice. However Crataegus laevigata is a compact shrubby small tree closely related to the hedging species and grown for their profusion of highly ornamental double flowers that are produced in spring. They have the same sharp thorns on their branches as the Common Hawthorn some as long as 3 inches so bear this in mind when deciding where to plant your tree or even a group of trees.
They have dark green foliage that sets off the beautiful dark red flowers of Pauls Scarlet and the equally pretty double pink flowers of Rosea Flore Plena to perfection.The red haws which follow the stunning double flowers which appear in May are an attraction to both birds and other wildlife. The leaves of these spectacular small trees turn yellow and bronze in autumn giving additional autumnal interest. Both varieties are extremely hardy and can cope with almost any planting condition including exposed, coastal and damp sites.
This decorative small tree has a neat round head when mature and can achieve a height of 5 metres slowly over 20 years or so. Their compact habit and slow growth rate make them an ideal choice for a smaller garden or any area with restricted space, very occasionally you can see the pink or red blossom of a tree growing in the wild where a bird has dropped the seed and it has developed into a small tree or bush.