Common Hawthorn

Family: (Rose family) [E-flora]
Other Names: Oneseed hawthorn.[E-flora]



Crataegus curvisepala auct. non Lindm. [misapplied]
Crataegus monogyna var. rosea (Willd.) K. Koch
Crataegus oxyacantha auct. non L. [misapplied]
Crataegus oxyacantha var. paulii (Rehd.) Rehd.[E-flora]

"Common hawthorn is an introduced invasive shrub or small tree that originates in Europe, west Asia and North Africa (Phipps 1998). It was introduced as a garden plant in North America and is now present in western and eastern regions of the continent (USA: AK, AR, CA, CT, DC, DE, IL, KY, MA, ME, MI, MT, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OR, PA, RI, TN, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, CAN: BC, NB, NS, ON, PE, QC) (USDA 2010). In BC, common hawthorn is found on southeastern Vancouver Island and the southwestern corner of the mainland, with a few reports from the north coast and the Queen Charlotte Islands. It is frequently encountered in the Fraser delta and is invasive in Garry oak ecosystems on Vancouver Island where it can replace open sites with a dense shrub layer (GOERT 2002). It is locally common at Salmon Arm and Castlegar with sporadic occurrences elsewhere inland (Phipps 1998).
This is generally an easily recognized medium to tall shrub species with distinctive simple lobed leaves, short stout thorns about 1 cm long, white flowers, and red fruit. Morphology can be variable, however, perhaps because of multiple origins and cultivars present in the area (Phipps 1998). The red fruits readily distinguish it from BC's other two species of Crataegus, which are black-fruited, although hybrids with the native black hawthorn (Crataegus douglasii) have been reported (GOERT 2002). The species is readily dispersed by birds." [E-flora]


"Crataegus monogyna is a deciduous Shrub growing to 6 m (19ft) by 6 m (19ft) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 5 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from May to June, and the seeds ripen from Sep to November. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Midges. It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay and nutritionally poor soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid and very alkaline soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist or wet soil and can tolerate drought. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure.
It can tolerate atmospheric pollution."[PFAF]

USDA Flower Colour: Purple
USDA Blooming Period: Mid Spring
USDA Fruit/Seed characteristics:

Colour: Red
Present from Summer to Fall [USDA-E-flora]


More hazards below under 'Crataegus Sp.'

Edible Uses

Other Uses

Medicinal Uses

"Hawthorn is an extremely valuable medicinal herb. It is used mainly for treating disorders of the heart and circulation system, especially angina[254]. Western herbalists consider it a 'food for the heart', it increases the blood flow to the heart muscles and restores normal heart beat[254]. This effect is brought about by the presence of bioflavonoids in the fruit, these bioflavonoids are also strongly antioxidant, helping to prevent or reduce degeneration of the blood vessels[254]."[PFAF]




Components: n-Triacontane, 1-nonacosanol, bsitosterol, ursolic acid, crataegolic acid, caffeic and oleanolic acids [2]
Content, mg/g: 0.20 [3] Composition, %: Phytofluene - tr; a-carotene - 0.5; b-carotene - 20.8; cryptoxanthin - 7.8; 5,6:5060- diepoxy-b-carotene - 14.5; violaxanthin - 52.5 [3]

Triterpenoic acids
Components: Oleanolic acid, ursolic acid [4]
Carotene [1] [LLCEOPS]

Bark, Bud, Flower; Carotene [1][LLCEOPS]

"The leaves and flowers of hawthorn are usually standardised to their flavonoid content, and the berries may be standardised to their procyanidin content. Other flavonoids present include quercetin, isoquercetin and their glycosides, and rutin. Other constituents include catechins and epicatechin dimers, polyphenolic acid derivatives including chlorogenic and caffeic acids, phenethylamine, dopamine, and ursolic and oleanolic acid triterpenenoid derivatives." [HMI Stockey]


"A very easily grown plant, it prefers a well-drained moisture retentive loamy soil but is not at all fussy[11, 200]. Succeeds in all but the very poorest acid soils[186]. Once established, it succeeds in excessively moist soils and also tolerates drought[200]. It grows well on a chalk soil and also in heavy clay soils[200]. A position in full sun is best when plants are being grown for their fruit, they also succeed in semi-shade though fruit yields and quality will be lower in such a position[11, 200]. Most members of this genus succeed in exposed positions, they also tolerate atmospheric pollution[200]. A very hardy plant, tolerating temperatures down to at least -18oc[202]. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus and with C. laevigata in the wild[186, 200]. There are many named forms selected for their ornamental value[200]. Seedling trees take from 5 - 8 years before they start bearing fruit, though grafted trees will often flower heavily in their third year[K]. The flowers have a foetid smell somewhat like decaying fish. This attracts midges which are the main means of fertilization. When freshly open, the flowers have more pleasant scent with balsamic undertones[245]. Seedlings should not be left in a seedbed for more than 2 years without being transplanted[11]. In heavier shade they quickly become drawn and leggy, eventually dying[186]. An important food plant for the caterpillars of many lepidoptera species[30], there are 149 insect species associated with this tree[24]. Plants are susceptible to fireblight[200]." [PFAF]

Livestock Fence: "The traditional rural practice of layering hedges, usually Crataegus monogyna (hawthorn), to provide an impenetrable, stock-proof hedge can be seen in many livestock areas of the UK, although rarely seen elsewhere." [Wickens, EB]

When to Plant: "Plant seeds right away; they will sometimes germinate the following spring. Stored seeds can be planted in the summer after stratification." [NSSH Bubel]
Breaking Dormancy: "Before the seeds can imbibe water and start germinating, the seeds coat must decompose. In addition, the embryos need chilling in order to break dormancy. If the seeds have been stored, stratify them over winter at room temperature to break the seed coats and then chill them for four to five months in the refrigerator before planting out in summer. If you decide to use an acid treatment on hawthorn seeds, treat only seeds that have been kept at room temperature for several weeks, because the embryos in fresh seeds are damaged by the harsh acid." [NSSH Bubel]
How to Plant: "Plant seeds thickly, because some will probably be infertile. Some should germinate the first year, but some will take another year to sprout." [NSSH Bubel]
Remarks: "Hawthorns develop taproots and should be transplanted out of the nursery bed by the time they're a year old." [NSSH Bubel]

"Seed - this is best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a cold frame, some of the seed will germinate in the spring, though most will probably take another year. Stored seed can be very slow and erratic to germinate, it should be warm stratified for 3 months at 15oc and then cold stratified for another 3 months at 4oc[164]. It may still take another 18 months to germinate[78]. Scarifying the seed before stratifying it might reduce this time[80]. Fermenting the seed for a few days in its own pulp may also speed up the germination process[K]. Another possibility is to harvest the seed 'green' (as soon as the embryo has fully developed but before the seedcoat hardens) and sow it immediately in a cold frame. If timed well, it can germinate in the spring[80]. If you are only growing small quantities of plants, it is best to pot up the seedlings as soon as they are large enough to handle and grow them on in individual pots for their first year, planting them out in late spring into nursery beds or their final positions. When growing larger quantities, it might be best to sow them directly outdoors in a seedbed, but with protection from mice and other seed-eating creatures. Grow them on in the seedbed until large enough to plant out, but undercut the roots if they are to be left undisturbed for more than two years." [PFAF]


Rose Family

Shrub, tree, thorny. Leaf: simple, alternate, petioled,+- ovate, generally+- lobed above middle, toothed, deciduous. Inflorescence: panicle on short-shoot tips, domed; pedicel bractlets several to many, +- 5 mm, narrow, margins glandular. Flower: hypanthium urn-shaped, bractlets 0; sepals small, margins entire to finely toothed, generally glandular; petals white; stamens+- 10 or 20; ovary inferior, styles 1-5, free. Fruit: pome, drupe-like, red to black, generally lighter in color before fully mature, core of 1-5 laterally pitted stones [or not]; sepals reflexed [or not].+- 200 species: northern temperate. (Greek: hard, for wood) [Phipps & O'Kennon 2002 Sida 20:115-144] Several species cultivated, escaped.
Unabridged note: Various species cultivated in arboreta, escaped elsewhere; several species in retail commerce, e.g., Crataegus √ómedia Sarg. cvs (generally misnamed as Crataegus laevigata (Poir.) DC. or Crataegus oxyacantha L.), Crataegus monogyna cvs, Crataegus phaenopyrum (L. f.) Medik.

Local Species;

  1. Crataegus douglasii - black hawthorn [TSFTK][PCBC][E-flora] & var. suksdorfii [E-flora]
  2. Crataegus monogyna - common hawthorn [TSFTK][PCBC][E-flora]


Food Use

Other Use

Medicinal Use

Uses of Related Sp.

HAWTHORN BERRIES AND LEAVES (CRATAEGUS MONOGYNA, C. LAEVIGATA, AND RELATED SPECIES) - Dilates coronary arteries, Improves blood flow to the heart, Decreases blood cholesterol levels, Acts as a hypotensive agent, and Improves digestion. [PDBHM]

Fungal Relatioships

At least three indigenous truffle species with notable culinary value are found in southern and eastern North America...the best known is Tuber lyonii, the pecan or Texas truffle, which is found from central Mexico to southeastern Canada, roughly throughout the eastern third of the continent. Tuber lyonii is associated with several host tree genera, including members of Quercus, Crataegus, Tilia (Trappe et al. 1996), Corylus (Bruhn 2007), and the pecan tree, Carya illinoinensis (Hanlin et al. 1989). Its fruiting season extends from March to February throughout its geographic range (Trappe et al. 1996), but it appears to vary in different regions. [SoilBio-34]


Page last modified on Wednesday, June 28, 2017 10:09 AM