Hawthorn - Crataegus monogyna
Family - Rosaceae

Very common hedgerow shrub growing to 15m (49ft), forming a dense leaved thorny thicket commonly used for stock proof hedging.  Some Hawthorn hedgerows can be extremely old, some over 500 years.  Distinctive white flowers of five petals with a strong scent appear in May to June ripening to bright red clusters of berries (Haws).  Shiny oval leaves of three to seven lobed pairs are a reddish colour when new.  Grows on most soil types and is found throughout the British Isles and Europe.  It can protect the seedlings of other broad leaved species particularly Oaks from predation and so can help natural regeneration.  Food plant for the Willow Beauty moth.

Can be grown from seed and cuttings and will grow rapidly for first 15 years or so.  For hedges grow in seed beds for two years, transplant into rows and then plant into hedges at four years.  Laying hedges to make them stock proof is an old country skill.  Wood is White and streaky or pale pink, and is a tough, hard and heavy wood used for making walking sticks and tool handles, and engraving and all turnery.  Good firewood.  The fruit or Haws are attractive to birds and spread the seed in this way.  Related to the Midland Thorn - Crataegus laevigata (Cyn. oxyacantha) or Two styled Thorn, the red flowered Hawthorn grown in gardens is derived from Midland Thorn.

Hawthorn - Crataegus monogyna flowers, click for a larger image Hawthorn - Crataegus monogyna berries, click for a larger image Hawthorn - Crataegus monogyna flowers, click for a larger image
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