Shrubs or trees, 30–70 dm, branching often tabulate when open-grown. Stems: 3-year old twigs deep purple-brown, older dark gray; 3-year old thorns on twigs blackish, ± straight, 3–4 (–5) cm. Leaves: petiole short; blade usually dark green, sometimes ± glaucous, narrowly or broadly spatulate, 1.5–3 cm, base cuneate, lobes 0 or 1 per side, lobe apex acute to rounded, margins subentire, crenate, or serrate, veins 3 per side (extending to sinuses and lobes), apex subacute to acute, surfaces usually glabrous, marginal and scattered abaxial hairs, adaxial midvein with long hairs (± dense young). Inflorescences 20–30-flowered; branches glabrous; largely ebracteolate, sometimes a few curved, green stipular bractlets; bracteole margins eglandular or with very few, very small glands. Flowers strong-smelling, 10 mm diam.; hypanthium glabrous; stamens 20, anthers pale-yellow; styles 3–5.2n = 34, 51.
Phenology: Flowering Apr; fruiting Sep–Nov.
Habitat: Brush, calcareous substrates
Elevation: 10–500 m
Ala., Ark., Fla., Ga., Ky., La., Miss., Mo., N.C., Okla., S.C., Tenn., Tex., Va.
Crataegus spathulata is locally common across the southern states from southern Missouri to Virginia south to eastern Texas to Florida.
Mature Crataegus spathulata has very attractive, often honey-colored, exfoliating bark. The illustration herein depicts an atypically large, unusually shaped, herbaceous bracteole.