Black hawthorn is a medium to tall shrub species frequently found in southern British Columbia. It has white flowers with 5 petals that appear in the spring; alternate simple leaves, and straight, stout thorns.
View a key to the hawthorns of the Pacific Coast (from Alaska to California), and species notes, by Jim Phipps.
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expanded illustration for this species.
General: Medium to tall shrub 1-7 m tall, with stout, straight thorns 1-2 (3) cm long; bark grey or brownish, rough and scaly.
Leaves: Alternate, deciduous, egg-shaped to oval, 3-6 cm long, irregularly toothed, the top end often with 5 to 9 shallow lobes, somewhat thick and leathery, dark green above, paler below, nearly smooth to hairy.
Flowers: Inflorescences short, terminal or axillary clusters; flowers several to many, stalked, 1-1.5 cm across; corollas white, the petals 5, nearly circular, 4-7 mm long; calyces 5-lobed, the lobes triangular, somewhat long-hairy toward the tip; ovaries inferior, smooth to short-curly-hairy, the styles usually 5; stamens 10 to 20.
Fruits: Berry-like pomes (like miniature apples), globe- to egg-shaped, about 1 cm long, blackish-purple, smooth; stones (nutlets) 2 to 5, 1-seeded.
Notes: Two varieties occur in BC:
1. Flowers mostly with 10 stamens; ovaries often hairy; leaves often weakly lobed above the middle as well as saw-toothed; plants from largely east of the Coast-Cascade Mtns., the common variety................. var. douglasii
1. Flowers mostly with 20 stamens; ovaries usually smooth; leaves merely 1- to 2-times saw-toothed; plants from west of the Cascade Mtns........................ var. suksdorfii Sarg.
Moist to mesic, open rocky slopes, bluffs, streambanks, lakeshores, gullies, thickets, edges of forests in the lowland to montane zones; frequent in S BC north to 56o N; N to S AK, E to ON and S to SD, WY and CA.
A shade-tolerant/intolerant, submontane to montane, North American deciduous shrub distributed in the Pacific, Cordilleran, and Central regions. Occurs on very moist to wet, nitrogen-rich soils (Moder and Mull humus forms) within boreal. temperate, cool semiarid, and cool mesothermal climates. Sporadic in opencanopy forests on water-receiving sites, scattered in poorly forested, semi-terrestrial communities on water-collecting sites (swamps). Characteristic of nutrient-rich wetlands.
Recommended citation: Author, Date. Page title. In Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2020. E-Flora BC:
Electronic Atlas of the Plants of British Columbia [eflora.bc.ca]. Lab for
Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British
Columbia, Vancouver. [Accessed:
2021-03-06 7:13:14 AM
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