”’Scientific Name”’: ”Crataegus monogyna”
”’Also known as”’: Hawthorn, single-seeded hawthorn, the May-tree, mayblossom, maythorn, quickthorn, whitethorn, motherdie, haw
”’Habitat”’: Native to Europe, northwest Africa and western Asia. It has been introduced in many other parts of the world. This species is commonly found growing in hedgerows, woodland and scrub. It will grow in most soils, but flowers and fruits best in full sun.
”’Description”’: Mature trees can reach a height of 15m and are characterised by their dense, thorny habit, though they can grow as a small tree with a single stem.
* ”’Bark”’ – Grey-brown, sometimes with a hint of orange. Starting smooth in young trees, becoming scaly and heavily fissured with vertical grooves, which can be spiralled around the trunk.
* ”’Twigs”’ – Purple-red, hairless, fine and stiff. Side shoots often terminate with a sharp spike.
* ”’Buds”’ – Very small (2-2.5mm), egg-shaped, pointed with brown scales.
* ”’Leaves”’ – Around 6cm long, obovate and comprised of toothed lobes, which cut at least halfway to the middle or ‘mid-rib’. They turn yellow before falling in autumn. The leaves’ upper surface is dark green and paler green underneath.
* ”’Flowers”’ – Hawthorns are hermaphrodite, meaning both male and female reproductive parts are contained within each flower. Flowers are highly scented, white or occasionally pink with five petals, numerous stamen, and grow in flat-topped clusters of 5 to 25. They appear in late spring (May to early June).
* ”’Fruits”’ – Once pollinated by insects, they develop into deep red fruits known as ‘haws’. The haw is a small, oval dark red fruit about 10mm long, berry-like, but structurally a pome containing a single seed.
==Pictures throughout the year==
File:Hawthorn_AugustC.jpg|Hawthorn in August
File:HawthornFlowers.jpg|Hawthorn flowers in April
File:Hawthorn_Leaves2.jpg|More Hawthorn leaves
File:Hawthorn_Fruit_buds.jpg|Early Hawthorn fruit
The young leaves, flower buds and young flowers are all edible. They can be added to green salads and grated root salads. The developing flower buds are particularly good. The haws can be eaten raw but may cause mild stomach upset. They are most commonly used to make jellies, wines and ketchups.
Fruit – raw or cooked, it is normally used for making jams and preserves. The fruit can be dried, ground, mixed with flour and used for making bread etc.
Young shoots – raw. A pleasant nutty flavour, they are a good addition to the salad bowl.
A tea is made from the dried leaves, it is a china tea substitute. The roasted seeds are a coffee substitute.
The flowers are used in syrups and sweet puddings.
The plant parts used are usually sprigs with both leaves and flowers, or alternatively the fruit (“berries”). Hawthorne has been investigated by evidence-based medicine for treating cardiac insufficiency.
Crataegus monogyna is a source of antioxidant phytochemicals, especially extracts of hawthorn leaves with flowers.
Flowers used for tea for heart and anxiety.
Berries and flowers used for tincture for heart, blood pressure.
”’More medicinal uses to be added – using herbalist references from books”’
Common hawthorn can support more than 300 insects. It is the foodplant for caterpillars of many moths, including the hawthorn, orchard ermine, pear leaf blister, rhomboid tortrix, light emerald, lackey, vapourer, fruitlet mining tortrix, small eggar and lappet moths. Its flowers are eaten by dormice and provide nectar and pollen for bees and other pollinating insects. The haws are rich in antioxidants and are eaten by many migrating birds such as redwings, fieldfares and thrushes, as well as small mammals.
The dense thorny foliage makes fantastic nesting shelter for many species of bird.
”’How we use hawthorn”’
Common hawthorn timber is a creamy brown colour, finely grained and very hard. It can be used in turnery and engraving, and was used to make veneers and cabinets, as well as boxes, tool handles and boat parts. It also makes good firewood and charcoal, and has a reputation for burning at high temperatures.
The fruit usually ripen from September to November. Usually picked by hand but a berry comb could work too.
Midland hawthorn (Crataegus laevigata). The common hawthorn is distinguished from the related but less widespread Midland hawthorn (C. laevigata) by its more upright growth, the leaves being deeply lobed, with spreading lobes, and in the flowers having just one style, not two or three. However they are inter-fertile and hybrids occur frequently; they are only entirely distinct in their more typical forms.
Identified in winter by the spines emerging from the same point as the buds; distinguishing them from [[Blackthorn|Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa)]] in winter which has buds on the spines.
In Britain, it was believed that bringing hawthorn blossom into the house would be followed by illness and death, and in Medieval times it was said that hawthorn blossom smelled like the Great Plague. Botanists later learned that the chemical trimethylamine in hawthorn blossom is also one of the first chemicals formed in decaying animal tissue, so it is not surprising that hawthorn flowers are associated with death.
*Tree & Plant ID Course from Foundation Bushcraft – http://identificationmasterclass.com/
*Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crataegus_monogyna
*Woodland Trust – https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/visiting-woods/trees-woods-and-wildlife/british-trees/native-trees/hawthorn/
*PFAF – https://www.pfaf.org/User/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Crataegus+monogyna