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The Winter King

by Janet Woody, librarian, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

Hawthorne trees have something to offer all year round, but right now, the ‘Winter King’ is one of the showiest trees in the garden. We have three planted together in a striking display on the edge of the west parking lot (outside of the Garden Shop/westside Visitor Center entrance) and they are showing off their beautiful red fruits right now.

winter king fruit

Winter King Fruit

winterking view

Winter King

Crataegus viridis is one of the handsomest hawthorns, and the ‘Winter King’ cultivar is largely free of thorns. It will have profuse white flowers in May, and glossy green leaves all summer, changing to purplish red in the fall. The birds will begin eating the fruit when it ages a bit more. Its shaggy bark exfoliates to reveal an orange underbark. The ‘Winter King’ grows 25-35 feet tall, has a nice rounded, vase shape, and is nearly disease free. It likes full sun and is drought-tolerant, which makes it a good choice for our area. If you haven’t been to the west parking lot (also called B lot), swing by and see the three ‘Winter Kings’ soon.

Hort Helpline: 804-262-9887 x 332 or janetw [at] lewisginter.org

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One Response to “The Winter King”

  1. Amy says:

    “We three kings of [winter] are…’
    I love your blog posts, Janet. This is one of my favorite trees in the Garden, although I’ve never known its name. Thanks for teaching me new botanical vocabulary!

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