Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Pale-fruited Hawthorn - Crataegus pallens   Beadle
Members of Rosaceae:
Members of Crataegus with account distribution info or public map:
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DistributionSo far found only on a few balds and rock outcrops in Buncombe and Madison counties (according to Lance 2014).

This taxon is known for certain only from NC, though specimens collected in AL and GA might be this species.
AbundanceHighly localized to three Mountains/rocky balds, and thus must be considered very rare as a whole, though perhaps not rare at these three sites. This is a State Threatened species, remarkably (and disturbingly) the only member of this large genus in NC that is officially State-listed (as E, T, or SC). It is not on the NatureServe (= BONAP) list, so the NCNHP has suggested a Global Rank of G1.
HabitatThis species seems to require growing over mafic rocks -- on outcrops, balds, and adjacent xeric forests and slopes in high pH soil.
PhenologyBlooms from late April into May, and fruits in September and October.
IdentificationThis is a large shrub or small tree, with rather ovate leaves. The leaves have several obvious “stair-step” deep serrations with reasonably straight edges, a bit different from most hawthorn leaves, though it could be subtle to some observers. Also, it has oval fruit that are yellowish (greenish-yellow), as opposed to turning orange or red. It has somewhat short twigs, and leaves are often found growing perpendicular to the ground, as opposed to more horizontally or simply at random. Lance (2014) indicates that the crown is rather “twiggy”, and he includes a photo of a “winter” individual, as opposed to consisting of long and often drooping or more slender branches. You will likely not be able to identify this species without detailed study of characters, but if you are able to visit one of several mountains where they are known to occur, you may well find it.
Taxonomic CommentsThis was one of many hawthorns originally described around 1900, in this case in 1901. It was later subsumed within C. flabellata, and generally was not considered a valid species until perhaps in the 21st Century. In fact, Lance (2014) recently described it as a variety -- C. venusta var. pallens. Weakley (2018) and a few other references do have this as a full species. Interestingly, NatureServe had this ranked as G1G2 into early 2018, without the dreaded “Q” rank; however, by Fall 2018 they have removed it completely from its NatureServe Explorer as a taxon. So, the Global Rank must fall back to GNR (not ranked).

Other Common Name(s)Pale Hawthorn
State RankS1
Global RankGNR [G1]
State StatusT
US Status
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