Crataegus nigra


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Crataegus nigra
Species Authority: Waldst. & Kit.
Common Name(s):
English Hungarian Thorn, Pannonian Black Hawthorn
Mespilus nigra (Waldst. & Kit.) Willd.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable A2cde ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2013-07-02
Assessor(s): Khela, S.
Reviewer(s): Leaman, D.J., Miller, R.M. & Scott, J.A.
Contributor(s): Király, G. & Turonova, D.
Global and European regional assessment: Vulnerable (VU)
EU 27 regional assessment: Vulnerable (VU)

Crataegus nigra is a species of hawthorn endemic to the Balkans and Carpathian Basin. This is a very rare species in all countries with known records. It is Endangered in Hungary and is likely to be Extinct in Slovakia. Threats include industrialization, clear cutting, rough forest management methods, forestation with alien species, overpopulated game-stock, introgressive hybridization, gene pool erosion and shrub clearance. It given a precautionary assessment of Vulnerable A2cde in both Europe (and thus globally) and the EU 27, as it is threatened or has disappeared across a significant portion of its range over the past several decades, and continues to decline. Although the population decline can't be accurately estimated with the data available, it may exceed 30% in the past three generations. More specific information on the current population size, trend and the overall rate of decline is needed, especially from Croatia, Romania and Serbia, to better quantify the population decline across its range. This species' habitat should be protected, unfavourable forest management methods improved, and game-stock and alien species controlled to protect declining populations.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Crataegus nigra is endemic to central-eastern Europe and the Balkans (Kurtto 2009, USDA ARS National Genetic Resources Program 2013). There is very limited information about its distribution. It has been recorded in the Suvu Planina Mountains in southeast Serbia (Papp and Erzberger 2009). According to Kurtto (2009), it is not known from Montenegro, but it was reportedly widespread in the country in the early 1970s (Frqnjić et al. 2006). Confirmed records of the species are known only from Hungary, Slovakia, Croatia, Romania and Serbia (G. Király pers. comm. 2013).
Croatia; Hungary; Romania; Serbia (Kosovo, Serbia, Serbia)
Regionally extinct:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The total population size is unknown, but this species is rare across its range. It is rare in Hungary and Serbia, very rare in Croatia and Romania, and extinct in Slovakia (Kurtto 2009, G. Király pers. comm. 2013). However, in Slovakia (and possibly the Czech Republic), its threat status is unclear according to Čeřovský et al. (1999); Marhold and Hindák (n.d.) list it as only occurring in cultivation in Slovakia. Although it is very rare and fairly unknown in Croatia, it is naturally widespread along the Danube river in Baranja. The population is endangered and declining in Hungary, where a majority of the subpopulations are found (Baričevič et al. 2004, Király 2007, G. Király pers. comm. 2013).
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This is a deciduous tree or shrub found in shrubland, gorges and forest edges in the Pannonian basin and Balkan Peninsula. It also occurs sporadically in closed forest stands, though it does not thrive there. It differs from other European species of Crataegus in that it is found in flooded alluvial habitats along major waterways and edges of poplar, ash and oak forests, where it usually forms small stands in the form of secondary hydrophilic bushy communities (Papp and Erzberger 2009, Frqnjić et al. 2006). Many Crataegus species are long-lived, with some living for hundreds of years; the generation length for this species is therefore likely to be from one to several decades.
Systems: Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is often planted in parks and gardens and along water courses to repair embankments (Papp and Erzberger 2009, Frqnjić et al. 2006). It is considered to be a medicinal and aromatic plant and is known for its fruit (Baričevič et al. 2004). It is not known to be cultivated.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): In Hungary, the forest habitat area has been reduced due to industrialization (Baričevič et al. 2004). It is also threatened by clear cutting, rough forest management methods, forestation with alien species, overpopulated game-stock, introgressive hybridization, gene pool erosion and shrub clearance (Bartha and Nagy 2004), as well as significant hybridization with Crataegus monogyna (Király 2007).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Crataegus nigra is classified as Endangered in Hungary, where a major proportion of its subpopulations are found; it is, however, protected in Hungary (Király 2007, G. Király pers. comm. 2013). It is listed as presumably extinct in Slovakia in the Euro+Med Plantbase (Kurtto 2009), though according to Čeřovský et al. (1999), its threat status is unclear. More information is needed on the overall population size and trends. Where the species is threatened, its habitat should be protected, unfavourable forest management methods improved, and game-stock and alien species controlled to protect declining populations.

Bibliography [top]

Amaral-Franco, J. 1968. Crataegus L. In: Tutin, T.G. and Heywood, V.H. (eds), Flora Europaea 2, pp. 73-77. Cambridge University Press.

Baričevič, D., Bernáth, J., Maggioni, L. and Lipman, E., compilers. 2004. Report of a Working Group on Medicinal and Aromatic Plants. First meeting, 12-14 September 2002, Gozd Martuljek, Slovenia. International Plant Genetic Resources Institute, Rome.

Bartha, D. and Nagy, A. 2004. Threatened tree and shrub species in Hungary. Folia Oecologica 31(2).

Čeřovský, J., Feráková, V., Holub, J., Maglocký, Š. and Procházka, F. 1999. Červená kniha ohrozených a vzácnych druhov rastlín a živočíchov SR a ČR 5. Vyššie rastliny (Red Book of Endangered and Rare Species of Flora and Fauna of the Slovak Republic and the Czech Republic. 5. Higher plants.). Príroda, Bratislava.


Franjić, J., Škvorc, Z. and Čarni, A. 2006. Distribution of Crataegus nigra Waldst. et Kit. in Croatia and its Importance for Forest Edge Vegetation Formation. Šumarski list 130(1-2).

IUCN. 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2013.2). Available at: (Accessed: 13 November 2013).

Jovanović, B. 1972. Fam. Malvaceae Lois.-Deslongch. In: Josifovic, M. (ed.), Flora SR Serbia 4, pp. 127-178. Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Belgrade.

Kathe, W., Honnef, S. and Heym, A. 2003. Medicinal and Aromatic Plants in Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania. BfN Skripten 91.

Király, G. (ed.). 2007. Red List of the vascular flora of Hungary (Vörös Lista: A magyarországi edényes flóra veszélyeztetett fajai). pp. 73. Saját kiadás, Sopron.

Kurtto, A. 2009. Rosaceae (pro parte majore). In: Euro+Med Plantbase – the information resource for Euro-Mediterranean plant diversity. Berlin. Available at:

Marhold, K. and Hindák, F. 2014. Checklist of Non-Vascular and Vascular Plants of Slovakia [Zoznam nižších a vyšších rastlín Slovenska]. Version 1.1. Available at: (Accessed: 20 February 2014).

Papp, B. and Erzberger, P. 2009. Contributions to the Byrophyte flora of southeastern Serbia: Suvu Planina Mts and its surroundings. Studia bot. hung. 40: 125-142.

USDA. 2013. Germplasm Resources Information Network - (GRIN) [Online Database]. Beltsville, Maryland Available at: (Accessed: 15/1/2013).

Citation: Khela, S. 2013. Crataegus nigra. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.1. <>. Downloaded on 22 July 2014.
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