‘Paul’s Scarlet’ English Hawthorn
The generic name is derived from the Greek word kratos meaning strength, probably because of the hardness and toughness of the wood. The genus is extraordinarily large, represented by some 90 species in Europe and Asia and estimated 800 in North America, only few of which are grown in parks and gardens.
Most commonly grown in parks is the illustrated variety of the English hawthorn, Crataegus oxyacantha ‘Paul’s Scarlet’ (syn Crataegus o. coccinea plena) with double, red blossoms. Less frequently grown is the double white variety plena. The blossoms of the type species are also white, but single. Theare borne in cymes and have five sepals and five petals. The fruits are red, pome-like drupes. The variety aurea has yellow fruit. The leaves of most hawthorns do not turn a bright colour in the autumn, the one exception being the foliage of C. prunifolia which turns orange to carmine.
C. o. ‘Paul’s Scarlet’ is propagated by means of seeds which are stratified in spring and sown in the autumn. Tree-like forms are obtained by grafting or budding the variety on to C. oxyacantha (the species) rootstock. Hawthorns prefer nourishing, deep soils but will tolerate dry, stony and poor soils, particularly in the wild. They are used in parks and gardens as solitary specimens and in groups as well as for clipped hedges, and tree-like forms are sometimes used as borders for city streets.