Hawthorn Trees

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Hawthorn Trees

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Common hawthorn trees are a deciduous tree native in the UK and across Europe.

Scientific name: Crataegus monogyna Family: Rosaceae

Hawthorn also known as the May-tree, due to its flowering period, it is the only British plant named after the month in which it blooms.

Mature hawthorn 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. Hawthorn bark is brown-grey, knotted and fissured, and twigs are slender and brown and covered in thorns. Common hawthorn often hybridises with the UK’s other native hawthorn, Midland hawthorn (Crataegus laevigata). Both species are similar and can be hard to tell apart.

Leaves: around 6cm in length and comprised of toothed lobes, which cut at least halfway to the middle or ‘mid-rib’. They turn yellow before falling in autumn.

Flowers: hawthorn is hermaphrodite, meaning both male and female reproductive parts are contained within each flower. Flowers are highly scented, white or occasionally pink with five petals, and grow in flat-topped clusters.

Fruits: once pollinated by insects, they develop into deep red fruits known as ‘haws’.

Hawthorn trees need full sun and well-drained soil. Water the hawthorn trees during dry spells for the first year. Afterward, they are drought resistant. Feed hawthorns annually for the first three years with a balanced fertilizer and every other year thereafter. Hawthorn trees need little pruning. Remove suckers that arise from the base of the trunk. Make cuts just beyond a lateral twig or bud that faces the direction in which you want the plant to grow.