Missouri State Flower: History, Description And General Planting Steps

shutterstock 1611790957 FloraQueen EN Missouri State Flower: History, Description And General Planting Steps

Missouri designated the white hawthorn flower as the official state flower in 1923. Hawthorn is often used to constitute defensive hedges in gardens. Hawthorn is a shrub that forms tangled bushes. Belonging to the rosaceous family such as the rosehip, for example, it can reach 10 meters in height. This is rather large for a shrub.

You can find it at the edge of forests or on wild hillsides, and you can recognize it by its small bright green leaves and its white or pink flowers that appear in spring. This small tree grows naturally in the countryside, where it is widespread. Easy to maintain, it blooms in spring and bears fruit in autumn. As a defensive hedge or in isolation, hawthorn is a wise choice for your garden.

As you read this, you can learn the following:

* Description

* Characteristics

* Planting * A Bit of History

* Pests and Diseases

* Ecological tips


The hawthorn (genus crataegus) is a small tree of the rosaceae family, both hardy (down to -20 degrees C) and undemanding. It can reach 6 to 12 meters in height, with a short trunk and a rounded silhouette. The foliage is deciduous.

Also called a whitethorn or maywood, hawthorn has a short flowering period. They must be picked when the flowers are still in bud. They should be put to dry in a well-ventilated place, in the shade, spread out on a thin layer of cloth to preserve their perfume. The use of hawthorn for medicinal purposes dates back to the Middle Ages. The flowers are used for their cardiotonic properties.

Native to the temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere, hawthorn is very common in nature, where it often colonizes abandoned and sun-exposed land. In the garden, its slow growth and highly branched habit make it enjoyable as a protective hedge, especially for thorny species.


Hawthorn is a type of shrub or tree with thorny branches that can reach up to 10 meters in height. The leaves have up to five lobes and are green and shiny. The flowers are white or slightly pinkish and are grouped in corymbs, arranged on the same plane.

There are several kinds of hawthorn, such as the two-style hawthorn or the five-style hawthorn. Hawthorn can be found in Southwest Asia, but also in Europe and North America, preferably at the edge of forests.

Its slow growth and very branched port is used in the garden to create beautiful impassable quickset hedges, especially with species with long thorns. In urban areas, for green spaces, the new thornless cultivars are used instead, which are less dangerous for passers-by and children. In spring, from late May to early June, its intense flowering transforms it into a real snowball with a heady scent for the majority of white-flowered species in corymbe.


Hawthorn is a natural plant to grow. Less demanding and is content with most soils, whether acid, neutral, or even a little calcareous, no matter how well drained the soil is! The hawthorn grows in full sun as well as half shade. It is very hardy and can, therefore, be planted in most regions.

Once well planted, this tree requires little maintenance. A few waterings the first year in summer can be enough. Then you can leave it to nature! The only action required, especially for hedges, is pruning, either after flowering or in the autumn, to remove deadwood, to thin the center to let in as much light as possible, and to cut off the exuberant branches to give the tree a beautiful shape.

Plant it in a container in autumn or spring. To build a sturdy and decorative hedge, you can plant only hawthorns or alternate them with other species of shrubs such as blackthorns, dogwoods, etc.

A Bit of History

The Chinese used hawthorn in the 650 B.C for its medicinal properties in the treatment of cardiovascular disorders. Since the 1980s, standardized extracts have been the subject of clinical trials in people suffering from congestive heart failure, among other conditions. Their prescription by doctors is necessary. Nowadays, its use as a medicinal plant is widespread in Europe, mainly in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, where it is used in the composition of many preparations for therapeutic use.

In France, capsules of plant powder are sold over-the-counter in pharmacies and herbalists. Their use is, however, intended for the treatment of minor disorders: palpitations of nervous origin, nervousness, etc.

Pests and Diseases

Although this shrub is relatively hardy, it can, like most rosacea, be affected by various cryptogamic diseases such as :

Powdery mildew: white felting on the leaves. Sulfate with powdered sulfur at the first signs.

Apple scab: brown spots and cracks appear on all leaves, flowers, and fruit.

Rust: avoid planting hawthorn next to juniper, as the disease needs both hosts to develop.

The fireblight, which has destroyed so many hedges: This disease, which can affect various fruit trees (apple, pear, quince) and ornamental trees is due to the development of a bacterium which penetrates through the flowers and can then develop throughout the tree. The branches dry out as if they had been burnt. Eventually, it kills it.

It is dangerous because it is highly contagious and without any treatment other than prophylactic. If you notice its appearance, in spring or summer, cut the tree down immediately and burn it quickly.

Ecological Tips

For the treatment of diseases, we advise you to take preventive solutions that should be part of the maintenance. In the fall, collect dead leaves (as well as twigs, fruit, etc.) that have fallen to the ground and burn them. Then, spray a solution of Bordeaux mixture when the leaves fall and before the buds break. Do not sprinkle any more afterward as hawthorn cannot tolerate copper.

In case of failure, you have to choose between using effective but toxic products or destroying the shrub(s) affected by the fire.

The other interest of these hedges :

By planting a hawthorn hedge to fence off your garden, you can create an excellent refuge for many animals. First, birds can also feed on their red berries in winter. Second, for hedgehogs and other useful animals or insects.

The hawthorn (crataegus laevigata) or whitethorn is a small tree that can be six to 10 m high, well known for its medicinal properties, but especially for its frequent presence in hedges and wood edges. Hawthorn can resist temperatures down to -20°C. Hawthorn would be highly useful in nervous system disorders, whether insomnia or also anxiety. Also, hawthorn is recommended for various heart problems such as rhythm, insufficiency, or palpitations. This plant is also helpful in case of diseases such as angina or laryngitis.

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