Common Name: Crusader cockspur hawthorn

Scientific Name: 
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Crataegus
Species: C. crus-galli 'Crusader' 

Hardiness Zone: 3 to 7
Height: 25 to 35 ft 
Width: 25 to 35 ft


​​​​​'Crusader' is a cultivar of cockspur hawthorn. It is a small, thicket-forming tree with a short stout trunk and a broad, dense crown and horizontal branches. Its most notable feature is that it's thornless. The foliage is obovate and dark green, with saw-toothed margins, changing to shades of scarlet, purple, and orange in the autumn. The bark is dark gray or brown and scaly. The flowers bloom in clusters in early spring and have 5 white petals. The fruits ripen in the fall and are dark red. They form in drooping clusters and can persist through the winter into the spring.

Where it Grows:

'Crusader' can be found growing in moist soils of valleys and low upland slopes. It can tolerate drought and occasional flooding. They do excellent in full sun and do not tolerate shade or salt spray. 

How it's Used: 

It is tolerant of urban pollution so it can be used as a hedge or screen, shade tree, or ornamental. Since this cultivar is thornless, this is a good option for residential areas and parks.

Ecosystem Services:

'Crusader' provides food and shelter to game birds, migrant birds, nesting birds, and songbirds. 

Where it's Native To:

 It's native is in North America, from Quebec to North Carolina and Kansas.


Insect problems include aphids, borers, caterpillars, lace bugs, leafminers, red spider mites, and scales. The major diseases for this plant are cedar-apple rust, cedar-quince rust, and fireblight. Other possibilities include apple scabs, cankers, fungal leaf spots, leaf blight, powdery mildew, and twig blight. Pesticides and fungicides are available for use when problems are severe or you have a high-value tree.


The Morton Arboretum

Missouri Botanical Garden

Little, E. L. (n.d.). National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Trees; Eastern Edition. (Original work published 1980)

Crusader cockspur hawthorn foliage