Don’t confuse the Indian hawthorn (Raphiolepis indica) with the thorned and hardy native hawthorn tree. Indian hawthorns are low-growing, low-maintenance flowering shrubs indigenous to China, offering dense evergreen mounds of leaf around 6 feet high. The bush explodes with fragrant white or pink blossoms in springtime, from that develop the curved fruit or pomes, similar to rose hips. Generally tolerant of soil and shade, Indian hawthorns are somewhat drought resistant and largely maintenance free once launched. This tree thrives in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8 through 11.
Explain Indian hawthorn plants when they begin to blossom in mid-April. Start looking for fragrant flower clusters resembling these crabapples, either white or pink. The plant’s leaves are rounded, leathery and dark green with serrated edges. Even though the Indian hawthorn is evergreen, some of the old leaves turn vibrant colours and drop in autumn.
Assess the Indian hawthorn bush above the summer. As the blooms fade, berries begin to grow. They are curved but slightly flattened, about 1/2-inch in diameter. They are ripe when they turn bluish-black in late summer or early fall and are soft to the touch.
Gather the berries in autumn before all are absorbed by hungry birds. Split open a berry. Inside are two little seeds that can be used to grow new Indian hawthorn bushes. Wash the seeds prior to planting.