Pear Hawthorn

> Hardwoods > Rosaceae > Crataegus > calpodendron
Pear hawthorn (C. x media pictured)

Common Name(s): Pear hawthorn

Scientific Name: Crataegus calpodendron

Distribution: Eastern North America

Tree Size: 20-40 ft (6-12 m) tall,

                      6-12 in (15-30 cm) trunk diameter

Average Dried Weight: 48.5 lbs/ft3 (775 kg/m3)

Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .62, .77

Janka Hardness: 1,680 lbf (7,450 N)

Modulus of Rupture: 17,250 lbf/in2 (119.0 MPa)

Elastic Modulus: 1,368,000 lbf/in2 (9.43 GPa)

Crushing Strength: 8,420 lbf/in2 (58.1 MPa)

Shrinkage: No data available; generally considered to have a high amount of shrinkage

Color/Appearance: Sapwood is cream colored, with highly variable heartwood (in both width and color). Heartwood ranges from being just barely darker than the sapwood, to dark reddish brown.

Grain/Texture: Grain is straight, with a fine, uniform texture and good natural luster.

Rot Resistance: As most material is composed of sapwood, hawthorn should be considered perishable, with poor insect resistance.

Workability: Generally easy to work, but can be difficult to dry, with warpage and distortion common. However, the wood is somewhat more stable once dry.

Odor: No characteristic odor.

Allergies/Toxicity: Besides the standard health risks associated with any type of wood dust, no further health reactions have been associated with pear hawthorn. See the articles Wood Allergies and Toxicity and Wood Dust Safety for more information.

Pricing/Availability: Usually only a shrub or small tree, hawthorn is not a commercial timber. Small pieces can sometimes be found on a very limited, hobbyist scale.

Sustainability: This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Common Uses: Turned objects, carving, and other small specialty wood items.

Comments: Although hawthorn species tend to be rather small—usually not getting larger than a large shrub—the wood can be well suited for smaller projects. Its small pores and medium-high density give it a very fine and even texture not too unlike true boxwood (Buxus sempervirens).

Images: Drag the slider up/down to toggle between raw and finished wood.

There are currently no pictures of this exact wood species, but a similar species within the Crataegus genus is being substituted, pink hawthorn (C. x media). If you’d like to contribute a wood sample for this webpage, please see the contact form for donating wood samples.

Identification: See the article on Hardwood Anatomy for definitions of endgrain features.

Pink hawthorn (endgrain 10x)
Pink hawthorn (endgrain 1x)

Porosity: diffuse porous; however, growth rings are usually visible due to an absence of pores at annual boundaries

Arrangement: exclusively solitary

Vessels: small, very numerous

Parenchyma: no visible parenchyma at 10x magnification

Rays: narrow; close spacing

Lookalikes/Substitutes: Madrone (Arbutus menziesii) is another hardwood with similar appearance, weight, and texture. However, its distribution (western) doesn’t overlap pear hawthorn (eastern). 

Notes: The Crataegus genus is somewhat convoluted and confused, with over a thousand synonyms or  varieties that are no longer recognized as valid. Separating different species of hawthorn generally cannot be done reliably using wood anatomy alone.

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Ratio modulus of rupture/elastic modulus, higher than the one of pacific yew. So ultimate bow wood?