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General description

Dense, deciduous shrub or small tree < 14 m tall. Stems are thorny. Leaves are deeply lobed and toothed. Flowers are small, white and borne in corymbs in spring. Fruit is dark red and borne in summer – autumn.

What you need to know

To help protect our environment:

  • You must not breed, distribute, release or sell hawthorn within the Auckland region.
  • You must not plant hawthorn within the Auckland region, unless you are transferring an existing plant on your land to another location within the boundaries of the same property.
  • You must destroy any hawthorn on land that you occupy if it has been planted in breach of the above rules and you are directed to do so by an authorised person.

Forest margins, scrub, disturbed forest, roadsides, pasture, coastal and lowland areas.

Seeds dispersed by birds and possums.

Forms dense thickets, excluding native vegetation. Provides food resource to exotic birds and mammals. Root intrusion on tūpuna maunga affects threatened plants and archaeological features.

Site Management

Follow up treated areas 3 times per year. Encourage natural regeneration of native plants or replant treated areas where possible after 2-3 treatments to establish dense ground cover and minimise reinvasion.

Recommended approaches

Physical control

Method: Dig out

Plant parts requiring disposal: Seeds

Disposal options: Remove to greenwaste or landfill if practical


Biocontrol is currently not available for this species.

Community agrichemical control recommendations

No qualifications
Cut stump and paste freshly cut base of stems with metsulfuron gel
Large stems can be frilled and pasted with metsulfuron gel

Basic Growsafe certified
Cut stump and spray freshly cut base with 5g metsulfuron-methyl per 1 L of water

Certified Handler/Experienced agrichemical user
Foliar spray with 5g metsulfuron-methyl per 10L of water and 20ml penetrant

Safety notes

Plant has spines.

CAUTION: When using any herbicide or pesticide please read the label thoroughly to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed.

Similar species

Lycium ferocissimum

Boxthorn is a shorter tree with oblong leaves compared with the multilobed triangular leaves of hawthorn.

Berberis glaucocarpa

Barberry is a much shorter shrub with spiny toothed leaves and small purple berries.

Search tags

RPMP status

Whole region (Sustained Control)
Hauraki Gulf Controlled Area Notice pest
Hawthorn - Main species image