Broad Leaved Cockspur Thorn - Crataegus x persimilis
Family - Rosaceae
Also known as - Frosted Thorn
A non native deciduous tree of the Hawthorn family growing to a height of 7m (23ft) on most soils. Originally from North America as an 18th century selection. It is a tough and hardy and cold tolerant tree needing little maintenance, but as its name suggests it has large thorns so could be grown and formed into hedging. Broad Leaved Cockspur Thorn has a grey, shallowly fissured bark and is mainly planted in decorative and ornamental planting schemes, gardens, parks and streets, rarely found in the wild. Alternate oval toothed dark green leaves above, with a white dense hairy felt underneath, 8–12cm (3–4.75in) in length on stalks 7–20mm (0.25–0.8in) long, turning golden in the autumn. Clusters of sweetly scented white flowers appear in May-June maturing to small berry like fruits ripening to a bright red in September-October, which contain black seeds similar to Apple pips. Timber from Broad Leaved Cockspur Thorn is a brown quite hard wood of good quality, used for tool handles, turnery, furniture & plywood. In the past it had also been used for cogs in machinery.
The berries are a favorite of birds, though less palatable than Rowan berries. Broad Leaved Cockspur Thorns are sometimes used as larval food plants by some Lepidoptera species including the Short–cloaked moth – Nola cucullatella.
FBCP do not advise or recommend that Broad Leaved Cockspur Thorn fruit – Crataegus x persimilis is eaten or used as an herbal remedy. The fruit is edible and can be made into jam and wine, although this is best done very late in the season as they become sweeter.
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