Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Forest Hawthorn - Crataegus iracunda   Beadle
Members of Rosaceae:
Members of Crataegus with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Rosales » Family Rosaceae
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DistributionApparently statewide, though details of locations are poorly known. Obviously, the range map below is quite incomplete, as this is still another of the many "resurrected" species of hawthorns as full species.

The range of this poorly known or described species covers much of the eastern U.S., from PA and OH on the north to GA and LA on the south. The range map in Lance (2014) shades all of VA, NC, and SC within its distribution.
AbundanceNot well known, but likely infrequent throughout; perhaps least numerous in the central and southern Mountains. Weakley's (2018) province map shows it as "uncommon" in all three provinces. This website has tentatively given the species an S4? state rank, based on a roughly statewide rank but apparently infrequent occurrence.
HabitatThis species, as one common name suggests, is seldom found in full sun, but grows primarily in the full shade of drier swamps, bottomlands, and rich forested slopes. It rarely grows in drier forests, or along wooded borders or in thickets.
PhenologyBlooms in April and May, and fruits in August and September.
IdentificationThis is a large shrub or small tree, often to 20 feet tall. The leaves are very similar in shape to several other species, especially C. pruinosa and C. macrosperma. They are ovate to deltoid in shape, very strongly serrated, with the teeth notable acuminate (and not triangular). Lance (2014) notes that typical C. iracunda, even in strong shade, has leaves somewhat firm as opposed to thin, and the fruits are rather hard, with a sessile calyx. For other characters, see this reference and Weakley (2018). For most biologists, this will be a difficult identification to make, though it may be that – as relatively few hawthorns grow in the deep shade of the interiors of bottomlands and swamp openings – a strongly serrated and ovate-leaved hawthorn might well be this species, especially in the Piedmont and mountains.
Taxonomic CommentsThough described about when most other hawthorns were – in 1902 – this taxon was, with so many others, not fully welcomed into most references in the 20th Century. It was one of many taxa subsumed in C. flabellata in RAB (1968). Weakley (2018) does not list varieties for it, but Lance (2014) does, and he has both the nominate one and var. populnea in NC, with the first being statewide and the latter being found only in the mountains.

Other Common Name(s)Stolon-bearing Hawthorn, Passionate Hawthorn
State Rank[S4?] *
Global RankG5
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B.A. SorriePiedemont/Coastal Plain boundary, Tim Martin land S of Eagle Springs. 5 Apr 2023. ID by Ron Lance. MoorePhoto_natural
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