Floridata Plant Encyclopedia

A Floridata Plant Profile 234 Rhaphiolepis indica

Common Names: India hawthorn Family: Rosaceae (rose Family)
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Indian hawthorn berries
Late autumn brings the colorful ripening fruits of the Indian hawthorn into view. By winter they will be ripe and ready for birds to enjoy as nutritious snacks.


Indian hawthorns are compact evergreen shrubs that grow 3 to 5 feet (1-1.5 m) in height eventually forming a mound that is about as wide as high. The oblong leaves are thick and leathery with serrated edges. They are dark green on top and lighter on bottom and 3-4 in (8-10 cm) in length. Star shaped flowers are held at branch tips in loose clusters and are white or light pink, with five petals, and may be lightly fragrant. Flowers are followed by blue-black fruits with 1 or 2 seeds and provide food for cedar waxwings and other berry eating birds.

Indian hawthorn flowers
In early spring the Indian hawthorn smothers itself in flowers and fresh young foliage.


Rhaphiolepis indica is a native of Asia, especially India and southern China.


Must have well drained soil whether in sun or part shade. Avoid overhead irrigation, especially at night. Leaf spot, scale, and fire blight may be problematic, but usually Indian hawthorns are quite rugged given proper conditions. Oil sprays are not recommended. Light: Sun to part shade Moisture: Provide average moisture, this shrub is drought tolerant once established. Hardiness: USDA Zones 8 - 11. Propagation: Propagated by seeds and cuttings.
Indian hawthorn is perfect for low hedges and borders. It is slow growing and requires little effort to maintain its shapely form.


Excellent shrub for foundation plantings and low hedges or borders. Withstands some salt spray and can be used on the leeward side of coastal houses. Indian hawthorn is often used in commercial landscapes and urban plantings including highway medians and other hot, sunny exposed situations.


There are not many shrubs that can easily be kept under 3 ft (1 m) and Indian hawthorn is one of the best. This robust plant is evergreen, easy to grow, drought tolerant, with ornamental fruits and flowers thrown in as a bonus. A great selection for low maintenance plantings.

Jack Scheper 04/3/99; updated 11/17/07, 03/28/08

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Rhaphiolepis species profiled on Floridata:

Rhaphiolepis indica

( India hawthorn )

Rhaphiolepis umbellata

( yeddo hawthorne, yedda hawthorne, Indian hawthorne )

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