Crataegus mollis: downy hawthorn [red haw]
Family: Rosaceae [subfamily Maloideae], part of the rosoid group.
Form: small dense tree, up to 15-30 ft; lacking lateral root-sprouts.
Range: eastern North America, especially in the Mississippi drainage and Great Lakes region; widely scattered in Kentucky, but common only in the Bluegrass and some western lowlands.
Habitat: old pastures, thickets, thin woods with grazing-history; on fertile base-rich soils, fairly dry to fairly wet, but avoiding extremes.
Consumers: fruit ripens early but persistent without rotting, used by many animals; human use for food (larger selections) and medicine (for heart). Leaves are somewhat palatable to larger herbivores but thorns protective; various insects or diseases sometimes cause significant damage.
Growing notes: seed may germinate only after 8-20 months, and seedlings grow slowly except in full sun on rich moist soil.