Anyone here growing Mayhaw?

I have several different varieties, Ive read that these plant likes low lying swampy areas and my property couldnt be any further in description from that but so far the two that are planted there are quite possibly the pretties trees that I have on my property.

I have a Big Jim and one unidentified in the ground for several months, the leaf and branch structure are absolutely spectacular.

I have a Georgia red, a red star, an SEH , a super texas star and a swamp mayhaw tree supposedly arriving tomm from ty ty nursery.

So far my experience with them couldnt have been any better, they shipped super fast and although the trees themselves were inexpensive I still am hopeful that I will receive nice semi largish trees for the one gallon size I was able to purchase.

Not sure what to expect from these trees fruitwise but again I really dont care and am just hoping for the best.

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Looks like you have a taste for the unusual like I do. I’ve had mayhaws for about 8 years. I’m well West of their natural habitat, but have them on irrigation and they do alright. I’ve had some cedar rust issues with one of them, but until now have just pruned out the affected parts. I’ll have to spray eventually. mine are unknown varieties. They are cold hardy below the teens as I just found out. D

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I have the Chinese mayhaw. It is heavily affected by the cedar rust and I only found out that after a couple of years. By spring time, the tree sends out good growth, then leaf rusted and fell. All my apple trees have similar rust. So I can only attribute the rust to the cedars. The abundance of cedars affect my apple, mayhaw, blackberry and Asian pear, as far as I can tell.

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I’ve had mayhaws growing here in KY, about 70 mi. NW of Nashville TN, for 20 yrs or more.
All of mine are grafted on native cockspur hawthorn; they’re in bloom right now. I have most of them planted in a low-lying wet spot alongside my driveway, but cockspur hawthorn grows fine on droughty upland sites as well.

Cedar-hawthorn rust is a major issue here, but some years I get enough fruit to make a small batch of jelly…other years, the rust gets them all.
I’ve lost IDs on all but one, but had/have: Big Red, Texas Star, Duck Lake, Royalty, Turkey Haw, O’Barr Collossal.

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If anyone grows Asian/Chinese hawthorn or mayhaw, let me know. Have been trying to get more. But not many sources. Cliff England does not grow them any more.

I have a couple of Asian hawthorns. I think I got them from burnt ridge. D

May I ask what varieties? The most common one is Red Sun. Gold Star is newer.

I do not know the difference between Chinese varieties vs native ones. Maybe Chinese varieties have larger fruits?

I think the reason mayhaw/haw is not popular is because the fruit is very sour and full of seeds. But the trees are very tough and grow wild in East Asia. Demands little with growing conditions. I think they do well in wet land and area with high salt content along roads. The flowers are nice and the trees grow to graceful shape.

My big Jim Mayhaw that I just recently transplanted from the ground of the nursery to my property ( end of last year ) is now fruiting. I tasted a couple of the fruits that were not quite fully red yet and found the taste to be VERY acceptable.

Not at all what I had expected after reading online.

I could definitely eat more and hope to have the chance to do so.

It didnt even taste close to that of a fig or mango in flavor but in a push come to shove scenario I wouldnt have an issue eating the fruit.


I’m a seasoned Mayhaw grower who was introduced to the Jelly as a child in MS and to the trees by TO Warren and then Shewood Akin who popularized Superspur Mayhaw. The Southern Fruit Fellowship had the Mayhaw Mania meeting in Orange, TX in the early 1980s if I remember correctly. A lot of good cultivars came out of that area of TX.
I grew TO Warrens Big Red and a selection he called Hybrid as well as Sherwood’s Superspur in northern MS then moved to CA about an hour north of San Francisco in a much cooler climate with no summer rain. I grow the Big Red and a variety I got from John Harrington he found and named Harrington Late Pink. The trees are about 22 years old grafted on Mayhaw seedlings. They are not super happy here but I get enough fruit to make a batch of Mayhaw jelly that satisfies my longing for a bit of southern cooking.

So the bottom line - Mayhaws can be grown in areas far removed from their local habitat along streams and bogs in the southeast US and survive on Mayhaw rootstock with irrigation even in areas with a Mediterranean climate. Chinese Haws should not be called Mayhaws as they are different species. Our native Mayhaw is called that as the fruit usually ripens in May.


Im not sure why the Mayhaws arent more popular, I consider it a very attractive tree structure and again the berries in my very limited experience are worth having around.

Good to ‘see’ a familiar old NAFExer posting again!
I never met Sherwood, but traded some plant materials with his daughter Jerri, and we occasionally discussed which mayhaws might work best here.
The late Henry Converse, who lived near Paducah KY also grew mayhaws, so, as you say, they can perform well away from their native Southern swamps.
I knew nothing of mayhaws, growing up in east-central AL, and don’t know that I ever saw one until I grafted my own, but on return trips ‘home’, afterwards, I noticed Parsley Haw scattered throughout the woods and swamps on the family farm.
Alas, all we have here is cockspur hawthorn - but it does make a tough, suitable understock for mayhaws.

Lucky P.

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I planted a Big Red and a Heavy in 2007 where I live in the Piedmont of North Carolina. The vast majority of the crop has been ruined by rust almost every year. I think I may have gotten about a cup or two of usable fruit just one year. Other than rust ruining the fruit Big Red has grown fine. My Heavy tree has had issues on the limbs, too. When I planted them I expected native fruits species like this to yield less desirable fruit but be relatively trouble-free, but that definitely hasn’t been the case.


I actually forgot about Heavy last night when I was writing the post. I grew it as well. I had rust in MS and sprayed a special fungicide that worked well. But, in those days, I sprayed all of my fruit for animal and vegetable pests! No CA rust here.

Lucky, TO and James Anding liked Parsley Haw for “upland rootstock”. I grew my mayhaws on mayhaw seedling in north MS on very heavy clay soil and they grew well.

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Have you ever tried air layering with your Mayhaws? Id really like to have more as it is a beautiful tree in my opinion, especially when it blooms. I looking for a way to make more trees from what I have or a place to purchase a reasonably sized tree without breaking the bank so I though air layering might work.

No Jason. I have only grown the seedlings and grafted them later. The seed is easy to germinate after a winter in the refer kept in a little damp peat or such.


Thanks for your time. I know the big Jim that I have is very seedy.

I was trying to get a jump on things, Im sure it depends on what is being grown but Ive noticed any seedlings Ive worked on are taking a very long time to do anything.

Chinese hawthorn (/shanzha/) ripens in the fall; I believe the Southeastern native mayhaws ripen earlier. East Asians don’t seem to have as developed a culture of cooking sour fruit (pies, cobblers, etc) as European-derived cultures do, but Chinese hawthorn is currently an exception since it is made into candies, leathers, and commonly skewered (sometimes stuffed with walnut meat where the seeds had been) then dipped into hard-crack-stage syrup to make a sort of fruit lollipop (very good, btw). It was originally medicine (for some digestive problem, not heart issues like the English haws) recommended to some imperial figure, but became popular for the flavor and is now a fall/winter treat in many parts of northern China. When I worked over there as an English teacher, I used Chinese haws (+ a few kumquats + a little imported blackcurrant syrup + sugar) to make a fake cranberry sauce for American Thanksgiving. I haven’t eaten mayhaws directly, but the jelly I tried seemed identical to crabapple jelly (maybe it was a scam trying to cash in on locavore premiums!). I would describe Chinese haw as crabapple + cranberry + rosehip + a hint of tomato in the background. It is hardier than mayhaws and tejacote (Mexican haw) but probably not as hardy as some of the seldom eaten species from the Northern U.S. or Eurasia. Whether a plant likes swamps or not probably depends on the rootstock. On their own roots, mayhaws are native to swamps, though that is partly because their is less competition there. I hadn’t seen the Chinese species growing, just the fruit sold, so I don’t really know what it prefers.

Most haws are very thorny, which would annoy most growers, though that is also true of most Citrus.


Chinese haw is completely thornless as far as I know, probably due to the extensive selection. I find the haw thorns quite pretty and harmless compared to the thorns of jujube for example…these are real nasty and vicious, especially when they break and the tip stays under your skin…but the fruits are worth the pain, I guess.

There are many wild Chinese haws growing in little hills in eastern China and my impression was that they were pretty tasty, not like the tasteless but sour “Red Sun” haws that I grow here. I don’t remember whether the wild haw trees have thorns but generally they are pretty small, kind of hidden in the woods.

The cultivated ones are more like a tree with pretty shape/form and beautiful flowers. My red sun haws fruited in third year and gave me around 50 fruits.

The fruits tasted bad but the jelly was amazingly good, full of the “Shan Zha” taste. The problem is that it’s really a lot of work to get rid of the seeds. I am not sure I am patient enough to do that with hundreds of fruits.

Chinese haw is not resistant to CAR at all. My trees were badly damaged in its first year because I had no idea of CAR. So if there’s any red cedars around, you must spray the tree diligently from April to May.

It seems jujube and Chinese haw share quite a few things. The wild trees are small and very tough plants. They are fairly hardy (zone 5 at least) and not picky about soil. Even some soil with salt content. But jujube likes sun and Chines haw tolerate wet feet.

For cultivation, both are grafted. The commercial Chinese haw is about 1" to 1.5" large and I recall is very tasty. Sweet and sour. The wild ones are smaller and have a lot of seeds. It is good for digestion and re-gaining appetite. It would be very good healthy food. In US we would say the fruit is high in Vitamin C and anti-oxidant.

I’ve not tasted a real Mayhaw. So it is hard to compare. But they look like different fruits. Do not think they hardy here in the North.

Yes, Chinese haw is affected badly by the cedar rust. The seller did not say anything, or he does not know…

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