A slender, deciduous tree of erect habit, up to 30 ft; branchlets purplish, glabrous. Leaves of variable shape, ovate with a truncate or heart-shaped base; 2 to 3 in. long, about half as wide; irregularly toothed, often three- or even five-lobed, the lobes shallow. When quite young there are tufts of hairs in the axils of the veins; otherwise they are quite glabrous. Flowers yellowish white, in erect inconspicuous racemes 11⁄2 to 2 in. long, produced in April along with the young leaves. Fruit glabrous; keys 3⁄4 to 1 in. long; wings 3⁄8 in. wide, spreading nearly horizontally.
Native of Japan; introduced in 1879 by Maries for Messrs Veitch. The bark is striped with white lines, as in others of the snake-bark group. The resemblance of the leaves to those of a hawthorn, suggested by the specific name, is a fanciful one. It is rarely seen under its correct label, but the short leaves, entire or shallowly three-lobed at the base, should distinguish it from its allies. There is a specimen at Westonbirt, Glos., measuring 36 × 11⁄2 ft (1967).
cv. 'Veitchii'. – Leaves handsomely marbled with rose and white.
A. × veitchii Schwer. – Not to be confused with the above, this maple was thought by Schwerin to be a hybrid between A. crataegifolium and A. rufinerve. If so, Veitch's statement that the seed came from N. China is unlikely to be correct; certainly nothing comparable has been found wild there. Branchlets greenish; leaves up to 3 in. long, leathery, green on both sides and soon glabrous, undivided, or with two short lobes near the base.