Bot. Tidsskr. 19: 264. 1895.
Shrubs, 10–60 dm. Stems: twigs: new growth reddish, glabrous, 1–2-years old dark reddish black, older grayer; thorns on twigs absent or frequent, straight to recurved, 2-years old blackish, slender, 2.5–5 cm. Leaves: petiole 1 mm wide, length 40–50% blade, usually glabrous, sometimes hairy, glandular; blade broadly elliptic to broadly ovate or oblong, 4–8 (–9) cm, base broadly cuneate to ± rounded, lobes 3–5 per side, sinuses ± shallow to moderately deep, angled to rounded, lobe apex acute to acuminate, often reflexed, margins ± serrate, teeth gland-tipped at least young, veins 4–6 per side, apex acute, surfaces glabrous. Inflorescences 3–8-flowered; branches glabrous; bracteoles membranous to nearly herbaceous, margins short-stipitate-glandular. Flowers 16–20 mm diam.; hypanthium glabrous; sepals 6 mm, margins glandular-serrate; stamens 10, anthers ivory or cream; styles 3–5. Pomes dull yellow to orange or russet, sometimes green mature, orbicular to ± pyriform, 8–13 mm diam., glabrous; sepals on collar, patent-reflexed; pyrenes 3–5.2n = 51.
Phenology: Flowering late Apr, early Jun; fruiting Sep–Oct.
Habitat: Open forests, forest gaps, open places
Elevation: 10–300 m
Ont., Ala., Conn., Del., Ga., Ill., Ind., Ky., Md., Mass., Mich., Mo., N.J., N.Y., N.C., Ohio, Pa., R.I., S.C., Tenn., Vt., Va., W.Va.
Crataegus intricata ranges in Appalachia from southern New England to Georgia and Alabama. The distribution given above, relative to similar taxa, may be somewhat over-represented because the species has been the default identification for doubtful (particularly fruiting) material of much ser. Intricatae with glabrous leaves and inflorescences.
Crataegus intricata is the common, widespread member of this series with lobed leaves, ten stamens, white or cream anthers, and glabrous inflorescences. Depth and sharpness of lobes and location of widest part of leaf are somewhat variable, as is plant stature, some forms appearing mature at 1–2 m.
W. W. Eggleston collected a distinctive form in the Crataegus intricata complex in September 1908 from North Carolina, in which the short-shoot leaves are broadly ovate to deltate with shallow obtuse lobes. This has a printed label naming it C. virgata Ashe. Though type material of C. virgata could not be located, the protologue by Ashe could fit. It is possible that all the southeastern forms from the intricata complex with shallow and obtuse lobes, proportionately wide leaves, and cream anthers represent C. virgata.