Tree to 12 m, with a broad, rounded top of widely spreading branches, or sometimes an arborescent shrub, sparingly thorny or nearly thornless; young twigs villous; lvs densely short-hairy above and ±tomentose beneath, becoming glabrous above and more thinly hairy beneath at maturity, highly variable in shape, 3-10 נ2.5-8 cm, usually lobed, rather deeply so on the vegetative shoots; fls 1.6-2.3 cm wide, in tomentose compound cymes; filaments much shorter than the pet; sep coarsely glandular-serrate, tomentose on both sides; fr red, often with pale dots, hairy at least near the ends, 0.9-1.6 cm thick, becoming mellow; nutlets 3-5. Commonest in limestone-regions; N. Engl. and se. Can. to Ala., w. to Minn., Kans., and Okla. (C. arnoldiana; C. canadensis; C. submollis)
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.
Leaves ovate, ellipsoid, or nearly orbicular, mostly 5-8 cm long, and 4-6 cm wide, acute at the apex, rounded or truncate at the base or on shoots, rarely subcordate, coarsely serrate nearly to the base, usually with 3-5 pairs of broad, shallow, lobes, firm to subcoriaceous at maturity, short-villous or scabrate above when young, permanently pubescent at least on the veins beneath; petioles stout, a third to half as long as the blades, pubescent, eglandular or rarely with a few scattered glands; flowers 20-24 mm in diameter, in compact, compound, mostly 6-16-flowered, densely tomentose corymbs; stamens about 20; anthers usually cream color, rarely pink; fruit subglobose, depressed-globose, or slightly oblong or pyriform, 15-20 mm in diameter, bright crimson or scarlet, pubescent at least toward the base; flesh thick, firm but mellow; strongly flavored and edible; calyx broad and shallow, nearly sessile; calyx lobes glandular-serrate, persistent or tardily deciduous; nutlets normally 5. A tree up to 10-12 m high, with a trunk sometimes 3 dm in diameter; bark dark gray, rough and somewhat furrowed; branches ascending or wide-spreading, usually forming a low conical crown; branchlets villous the first season, soon glabrate, slender, nearly unarmed or sometimes armed with stout, curved thorns. Common and generally distributed in Indiana, growing in open woods and open grounds, usually in fertile soil along streams. The form [Crataegus mollis var. dumetosa] differs from typical Crataegus mollis in the narrower, ovate or elliptic, undivided or obscurely lobed leaves, narrowed or rounded at the base and acuminate into the slightly winged petioles. It has been found in Indiana in Marion, Shelby, and Vermillion Counties, growing with the typical form.