haw is also called smooth blackhaw. It occurs as a small, bushy tree or
large shrub, growing between 10 and 25 feet tall, with a short trunk that
has a diameter of about 6 inches. It has an irregular crown with stiff,
haw grows on a range of moist to dry, open sites in rocky upland forests.
It is also common along fence rows and thickets. It tolerates dry conditions
very well, and can grow in either sun or shade. It is present in most counties
in Illinois, and ranges from Connecticut to Michigan, south to Texas and
east to northern Florida.
species are widespread and common in the eastern deciduous forest. Most
are shrubs and all have fleshy fruits containing a single seed. They are
difficult to characterize as a group because there are few all-inclusive
characteristics among different species. Smooth blackhaw has alligator-hide
patterned bark, just as the flowering dogwood does. However, its bark is
corkier than that of flowering dogwood.
Black haw bark is reddish-brown to dark brown or black and has a distinctive "blocky" appearance.
are smooth, slender, gray or brown, and have orange-colored lenticels (pores,
either circular, elliptical, or stripe shaped, on the bark that allow the
exchange of gases).
are 1/2 inch in length, gray or reddish-gray and sometimes covered with
The leaves are opposite, oval with short, pointed tips, and are rounded or tapering to the base. The leaf margins are toothed. They are 2-3 inches long, shiny and dark green on the upper surface and paler and smooth or slightly hairy on the lower surface. The leaves turn bright red in the autumn. Leafstalks are less than an inch long.
occur in upright, flat-topped clusters of small, white flowers. Individual
flowers are 1/4 inch or less in diameter, whereas the flower cluster is
up to 4 inches wide. The flowers appear in April and May.
are shiny, bluish-black, ovoid, and occur on bright red stalks. They occur
in September to October. Song and game birds, as well as a variety of small
mammals and deer eat them.
haw is used as an ornamental because it possesses year-round ornamental
qualities similar to those of flowering dogwood. The flowers and berries
are attractive and the tree is small and nicely shaped. It also tolerates
dry conditions and will grow in sun or shade. Black haw wood is coarse
grained, hard, and heavy, but it is also brittle.