38. Crataegus fecunda Sargent, Bot. Gaz. 33: 111. 1902.
St. Clair or fecund hawthorn
Trees, 60–80 dm. Stems: ˂trunks to 3 dm diam.˃; twigs: new growth ˂dark green turning orange, lustrous˃, pilose, 1-year old orange-brown, older ashy gray; thorns on twigs ± straight to recurved, 1-year old chestnut or blackish brown, slender, 5–6.5 cm. Leaves: ˂stipules stipitate, linear to semilunate, 1.3–2 cm, coarsely glandular-serrate˃; petiole ˂± winged apically˃, 13–20 mm, ˂stout˃, length 26–31% blade, adaxially ˂grooved˃, villous, often scattered dark glandular; blade ˂pale yellow-green abaxially, dark green when mature, red in fall˃, oblong-obovate to ovate or broadly ovate, 5–6.5 cm, thin and firm, base gradually or abruptly narrowed, ˂obscurely ciliate˃, lobes 0, margins usually doubly, coarsely serrate (except proximally), ˂teeth spreading, 2–3 mm, glandular˃, venation craspedodromous, ˂midvein stout˃, veins 7–9 per side, ˂remote, only slightly impressed adaxially˃, apex acute, rarely rounded, short-pointed, ˂lustrous˃, adaxial scabrous young, scabrous or glabrous mature, midveins and primary veins villous ˂with occasional white hairs˃. Inflorescences 6–17-flowered; branches sparsely villous; bracteoles linear to oblong-obovate, margins sparsely glandular-serrate. Flowers 18 mm diam.; hypanthium ± villous; sepals ˂spreading after anthesis, elongated˃, shorter than petals, margins subentire or shallowly to deeply glandular-serrate, stipitate-glandular, ˂apex acuminate˃, abaxially villous; stamens 10(–15), anthers dark purple, ˂small˃; styles 2 or 3. Pomes ˂borne in wide, drooping, multi-fruited glabrous clusters˃, dull orange-red, ˂with dark lenticels˃, short-oblong to suborbicular ˂ends full, rounded˃, 13 mm diam., sparsely hairy until nearly fully grown; ˂flesh pale green, thick, firm, hard, dry, sweet˃; sepals erect, incurved, ˂linear-lanceolate, coarsely glandular-serrate above middle˃; pyrenes 2 or 3, ˂rounded, 8 mm˃.
Flowering Apr; fruiting Sep–Oct. Ravines, brush, rich woodlands, near streams; of conservation concern; 50–200 m; Ark., Ill., Ky., Mo.
Crataegus fecunda was formerly found in the central United States, mainly near the Mississippi and Ohio rivers. It has apparently not been seen in the wild since the 1930s, an example of the decline of previously well-documented taxa, some of which are seemingly extinct.
Crataegus fecunda is similar to glabrous-inflorescence forms of C. persimilis; it always has sharper and more prominent leaf marginal teeth, usually proportionately narrower leaves with more acute apices, slightly hairy inflorescences, and plane-sided pyrenes. According to Sargent, it had fruit 22–25 mm diam.
Crataegus shinnersii Kruschke, known from a handful of specimens in Wisconsin, is similar and would key here but has cream or ivory anthers and glabrous inflorescences; its precise taxonomic disposition is uncertain.