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Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: Core eudicots
Cladus: Rosids
Cladus: Eurosids I
Ordoo: Rosales

Familia: Rosaceae
Subfamilia: Amygdaloideae
Tribus: Maleae
Subtribus: Malinae
Genus: Rhaphiolepis

R. angustissima – R. balgooyi – R. bengalensis – R. brevipetiolata – R. cavaleriei – R. condaoensis – R. deflexa – R. dubia – R. elliptica – R. ferruginea – R. fulvicoma – R. glabrescens – R. henryi – R. herae – R. hookeriana – R. indica – R. lanceolata – R. longifolia – R. loquata – R. major – R. macrocarpa – R. malipoensis – R. mekongensis – R. merguiensis – R. oblongifolia – R. obovata – R. petiolata – R. philippinensis – R. platyphylla – R. poilanei – R. prinoides – R. salicifolia – R. salwinensis – R. seguinii – R. serrata – R. stipularis – R. tengyuehensis – R. williamtelliana – R. wuzhishanensis

R. × daduheensis

Rhaphiolepis (L.) Lindl., Bot. Reg. 6: t. 468 (1820).

Type species: Rhaphiolepis indica (L.) Lindl., Bot. Reg. 6: t. 468 (1820).


Opa Lour., Fl. Cochinch. 1: 308 (1790) vide Syzygium R.Br. ex Gaertn., Fruct. Sem. Pl. 1: 166 (1788), nom. cons. (Myrtaceae)
Raphiolepis Lindl. (undated and unstated) orth. var.


Rhaphiolepis Poir. (1827)

Primary references

Lindley, J. 1820. Botanical Register; Consisting of Coloured Figures of Exotic Plants Cultivated in British Gardens; with their History and Mode of Treatment. London 6: t. 468. "Raphiolepis"

Additional references

Liu, B.B., Liu, G.-N., Hong, D.Y. & Wen, J. 2020. Eriobotrya Belongs to Rhaphiolepis (Maleae, Rosaceae): Evidence From Chloroplast Genome and Nuclear Ribosomal DNA Data. Frontiers in Plant Science 10(1731): 1–14. DOI: 10.3389/fpls.2019.01731 Open access Reference page.
Liu, B.B., Wang, Y.B., Hong, D.Y. & Wen, J. 2020. A synopsis of the expanded Rhaphiolepis (Maleae, Rosaceae). PhytoKeys 154: 19.-55. DOI: 10.3897/phytokeys.154.52790 Open access Reference page.
Rushforth, K.D. 2018. The Whitebeam problem, and a solution. Phytologia 100(4): 222–247. PDF Reference page.


Govaerts, R. et al. 2020. Rhaphiolepis in Kew Science Plants of the World online. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2020 Jan. 4. Reference page.
Hassler, M. 2020. Rhaphiolepis. World Plants: Synonymic Checklists of the Vascular Plants of the World In: Roskovh, Y., Abucay, L., Orrell, T., Nicolson, D., Bailly, N., Kirk, P., Bourgoin, T., DeWalt, R.E., Decock, W., De Wever, A., Nieukerken, E. van, Zarucchi, J. & Penev, L., eds. 2020. Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2020 Jan. 4. Reference page.
International Plant Names Index. 2020. Rhaphiolepis. Published online. Accessed: Jan. 4 2020.

Vernacular names
English: China Hawthorn

Rhaphiolepis (/ˌræfiˈɒlɪpɪs/ or /ˌræfioʊˈlɛpɪs/;[1]) is a genus of about fifteen species of evergreen shrubs and small trees in the family Rosaceae, native to warm temperate and subtropical East Asia and Southeast Asia, from southern Japan, southern Korea and southern China, south to Thailand and Vietnam. In searching literature it is well to remember that the name commonly is misspelt "Raphiolepsis". The genus is closely related to Eriobotrya (loquats), so closely in fact, that members of the two genera have hybridised with each other; for example the "Coppertone loquat" is a hybrid of Eriobotrya deflexa X Rhaphiolepis indica. The common name hawthorn, originally specifically applied to the related genus Crataegus, now also appears in the common names for some Rhaphiolepis species. For example, Rhaphiolepis indica often is called "Indian hawthorn", and Rhaphiolepis umbellata, "Yeddo hawthorn".

Distribution map of Rhaphiolepis and Eriobotrya

The species vary in size, some only reaching 1–1.5 m (3 ft 3 in–4 ft 11 in), while R. ferruginea can reach 10 m (33 ft). The leaves are alternate, leathery, glossy dark green, simple, 3–9 cm (1–3+1⁄2 in) long, with an entire or serrated margin. The flowers are white or pink, 1–2 cm (1⁄2–3⁄4 in) diameter, produced in small to large corymbs with panicle structure. The fruit is a small pome 1–2 cm (1⁄2–3⁄4 in) diameter, ripening dark purple to black, usually containing only a single seed.

Rhaphiolepis is closely related to loquats and toyon and is in the apple subtribe along with many other commercially important fruit like pears. Recent phylogenetic research has suggested Rhaphiolepis and Eriobotrya (loquats) be merged.[2]

Research suggests the following phylogenetic relationships:[3]


7 species

Heteromeles (toyon)



Eriobotrya (loquats)


Pyrus (pears)

74 species

Cultivation and uses

The best known species is Rhaphiolepis indica (Indian hawthorn) from southern China, grown for its decorative pink flowers, and popular in bonsai culture. Rhaphiolepis umbellata (Yeddo hawthorn) from Japan and Korea has blunter leaves and white flowers. It is the hardiest species, tolerating temperatures down to about −15 °C (5 °F).

The fruit of some varieties is edible when cooked, and can be used to make jam, but some ornamental varieties bear fruit that is of no culinary value.

Indian Hawthorn is a mainstay horticultural specimen in southern United States. It is often found in commercial as well as in private landscapes. Often it is trimmed into small compact hedges or balls for foundation plants. It has been successfully pruned into a standard form as well as small dwarf-like trees up to 4.5 m (15 ft) in height.

The use of Rhaphiolepis in landscapes in humid regions is limited by the susceptibility of many of its species and hybrids to a disfiguring leaf spot disease caused by fungi in the genus Entomosporium.


The first pronunciation is that expected for Anglo-Latin; the second is common in nurseries. Sunset Western Garden Book, 1995:606–607. However, William T. Stearn in his book Botanical Latin says "Botanical Latin is essentially a written language, but the scientific names of plants often occur in speech. How they are pronounced really matters little provided they sound pleasant and are understood..."
Liu; Liu; Hong; Wen (2020). "Eriobotrya Belongs to Rhaphiolepis (Maleae, Rosaceae): Evidence From Chloroplast Genome and Nuclear Ribosomal DNA Data". Frontiers in Plant Science. 10: 1731. doi:10.3389/fpls.2019.01731. PMC 7019104. PMID 32117331.
Redelings; Holder (2017). "A supertree pipeline for summarizing phylogenetic and taxonomic information for millions of species". PeerJ. 5: e3058. doi:10.7717/peerj.3058. PMC 5335690. PMID 28265520.

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