Site address
(not postal)

Woodcroft Wildspace
Downes Court


N21 3PT
leaves, flowers and berries
twig with leaves and berries

HAWTHORN (Crataegus monogyna)

Hawthorn is the most common small tree in the British Isles. Some of its many common names are: Bread and Cheese Tree, Hagthorn, Haw, May, Mayblossom, Mayflower, Maythorn, Maybush, Whitethorn, Quickset, and Quickthorn.

It is a dense, thorny deciduous shrub often used as hedges, but if allowed to grow freely it will grow to 8-12m high. In fact some Hawthorns have grown to 15m but this is rare. They are long lived trees; one in Norfolk is 700 years old. The gnarled and twisted trunk is not large, reaching 3-4m in diameter.

Young trees have a smooth, light grey bark which becomes grey to pinkish-brown with dark longitudinal fissures on older trees. Very old Hawthorns can become very rugged.

The tree comes into leaf about the end of March or early April.  The autumn colours are brown, red and yellow but sometimes turn a dull brown before falling.

Hawthorn tops, buds and flowers are edible, and the berries can be soaked in brandy to make a liqueur.

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