Common Name Hawthorn
Light sun to part
Crataegus, commonly called hawthorn or hawberry, is a large genus of shrubs and trees in the family Rosaceae, native to temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere in Europe, Asia and North America. The name "hawthorn" was originally applied to the species native to northern Europe, especially the common hawthorn C. monogyna, and the unmodified name is often so used in Britain and Ireland. However the name is now also applied to the entire genus, and also to the related Asian genus Rhaphiolepis. The name haw applies to the fruit, although originally it was an Old English term for hedge.
Fruit can be eaten raw or cooked. An excellent dessert fruit, it has an acid yet sweet flavour, is juicy but with a mealy texture, it makes very pleasant eating. The fruit can also be used in making pies, preserves etc, and can be dried for later use. A reasonable size, it is about 15mm in diameter. There are up to five fairly large seeds in the centre of the fruit, these often stick together and so the effect is of eating a cherry-like fruit with a single seed.
Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, the fruits and flowers of many hawthorns are well-known in herbal folk medicine as a heart tonic and modern research has borne out this use. The fruits and flowers have a hypotensive effect as well as acting as a direct and mild heart tonic. They are especially indicated in the treatment of weak heart combined with high blood pressure. Prolonged use is necessary for it to be efficacious. It is normally used either as a tea or a tincture.
The wood is heavy, hard, tough, close-grained. Useful for making tool handles, mallets and other small items. Hawthorn can also be used as a rootstock in the practice of grafting. It is graft-compatible with Mespilus (medlar), and with pear, and makes a hardier rootstock than quince, but the thorny suckering habit of the hawthorn can be problematic. With C. monogyna native to a lot of Europe, American Haws can be grafted on to make use of larger fruits.
Seedlings of Crataegus monogyna have been used to graft multiple species on the same trunk, such as Pink hawthorn, pear tree and medlar, the result being trees which give pink and white flowers in May and fruits during the summer. Chip budding has also been performed on hawthorn trunks in order to have several branches of several varieties on the same tree.