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Old 08-31-2009, 06:00 PM   #1
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Question Identity of Tree/Shrub Please!

Hello-

There is an area that has been planted to natives at some point in the past. In that area are these trees/shrubs. I believe that I have it narrowed down, but wanted your opinions as to what you believe it is. I am not going to tell you what I think it is so as not to bias it.

I included whole plant, bark, leaf and thorn pictures.

Thanks!
Jeremy
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Old 08-31-2009, 07:17 PM   #2
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Crataegus disperma? It would really help to see closer up photos of the underside of the leaves and closer up photos of the twigs.
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Old 08-31-2009, 08:11 PM   #3
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A thorn apple.
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Old 09-01-2009, 09:14 AM   #4
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Thanks for the posts. I was thinking that it was Crataegus crus-galli due to the down-turned thorns. I will try to get some closer pics next time I am driving by there and post those.
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Old 09-01-2009, 10:02 AM   #5
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I thought the same thing at first until I looked closer at your leaf margins and guesstimated the length of the thorns you photographed. C. crus-galli thorns are usually in the 2" range but some can go to 3". C. disperma thorns are longer than crus-galli as a rule of thumb but... the leaf margins on the plant you photographed steered me away more. Hawthorns do hybridize. They don't hybridize as freely as oaks but they do so that can complicate getting an id which makes it hard to pin these down when combined with the variability in each species. It's a wonderful little tree you've found. Not an ideal candidate to plant near a playground but... this is a GREAT tree for birds because of those thorns. The fruits are gobbled up by many species. Plant it if you can.

adding photo and comment, what was your reference on the thorns pointing down for crus-galli? Sort of curious. There are so many hawthorns out there and so little information that another good reference would be nice. My Plants of the Chicago Region wasn't much help and neither was my Dirr's Manual of Woody Landscape Plants.
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Old 09-01-2009, 11:56 AM   #6
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Are the hawthorns invasive?
That is one of the free trees one of the foundations gives you when you donate to them.
It sounded terrible to me when I looked it up and gave it a toss instead of planting it. I couldn't imagine or want to walk through it in the future should it spread.
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Old 09-01-2009, 03:27 PM   #7
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Kane County Wild Plants and Natural Areas by Dick Young

Dick Young says: "common--in woodlands and pastures. It is a scaly barked, wide-spreading tree to 20' with sharp, downward-curving 2" thorns and tapered, shiny, dark green leaves that turn a bronze to purple in the fall. It blooms in late May and early July and the late Sept. and Oct. apples are bland and pithy although soon consumed by wildlife."

It was actually a friend that suggested it, and I agreed based on characteristics. You are sure right though- hard to tell with the hawthorns!
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Old 09-01-2009, 05:08 PM   #8
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There are a few species of hawthorn being sold that are weedy and naturalizing. They aren't native species. There are cultivars of native species that are thornless that do little to protect our birds when nesting being sold. Those species wouldn't be desirable.

The species they are discussing would be a benefit to a home landscape in Illinois. There are species native to where you garden that would be wonderful additions also. They're not weedy or invasive in the least. Do be careful checking out the species before you buy. Many are native plants. Some are not.
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