Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Hillside Hawthorn - Crataegus collina   Chapman
Members of Rosaceae:
Members of Crataegus with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Family Rosaceae
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DistributionApparently found over most of the Piedmont and Mountains, as depicted in the broad-brush range map in Lance (2014). Details of its range (counties) are not well known, but the NCU Atlas shows specimens as far east as Granville and Moore counties. Lance (2014) says that the species is not known from high elevations, as that is where the very similar C. punctata is found, though they may overlap in a few areas. The county map below is clearly incomplete, but at least the general range in the state is visible.

Ranges across the middle latitudes of the US, from northern VA west to MO, and south to central AL and eastern OK.
AbundancePoorly known in the state, apparently not scarce, but obviously not well known. Perhaps infrequent to fairly common in the Mountains and much of the Piedmont. Weakley's (2018) map shows it as "uncommon" in both the mountains and the Piedmont. This website has therefore assigned a tentative state rank of S4?. (Note that most of the state ranks for Crataegus species have not been assigned by the NC NHP; and those with a global rank of GNR are not considered as valid species/taxa by NatureServe.)
HabitatThis is a species of a wide variety of habitats, from upland forests and openings, to stream banks and floodplain forests. It apparently favors upland sites, and is not a wetland species.
See also Habitat Account for General Rosaceous Thickets
PhenologyBlooms from March to April, one of the earliest blooming hawthorns, at least in the Piedmont and mountains. Fruits from August to October.
IdentificationThis is a large shrub or small tree, growing to about 15 feet tall. The flowers often bloom while the leaves are barely emerging. The leaves are small, often barely longer than the width of a flower; they range only to about 2 inches long. Also, the leaves are somewhat narrowly elliptic, with 4-6 strongly impressed veins above; the serrated margins are not overly sharp. The species is closely allied to C. punctata, of the higher mountains. However, at lower elevations, Lance (2014) says that it can be easily confused with the more well-known C. crus-galli. As this is a rather newly split species (from C. punctata), the majority of biologists are likely to be uncertain about its identification without keying out parts of the plant.
Taxonomic CommentsOlder references, including RAB (1968), had this taxon subsumed within C. punctata. This species has been long described, for a century or longer, but as with many taxa in this genus, there was considerable lumping in the middle of the 20th Century by some references. A few more recent references even list a few varieties for C. collina, though Lance (2014) and Weakley (2018) do not – thankfully for most biologists.

Other Common Name(s)None
State Rank[S4?]
Global RankGNR
State Status
US Status
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