Botanical Name: Crataegus monogyna
- Also, known as: May blossom, Maybush, Whitethorn, Mayblossom, Hedgethorn, Mayflower, Haw ,Aubépine
Habitat: Northern Hemisphere in Europe, Asia and North America.
Parts Used: Fruit
Crataegus monogyna species are shrubs or small trees, mostly growing to 5-10 feet in height, with small pome fruit. Branches have sharp, straight thorns. The thorns are small sharp-tipped branches that arise either from other branches or from the trunk. The bark is smooth grey in young individuals, developing shallow longitudinal fissures with narrow ridges in older trees. Leaves are frequently lobed with serrated margins and grow spirally arranged on long shoots, and in clusters on spur shoots on the branches or twigs. Hawthorn leaves are shiny and grow in a variety of shapes and sizes. Fragrant flowers are typically white but maybe pink, forming in clusters. Found in woodlands, hedges, and urban areas. The fruit, sometimes known as a "haw", is berry-like but structurally a pome containing 2-5 pyrenes that resemble the "stones" of plums, peaches, etc., which are drupaceous fruit in the same subfamily. Small berries, called haws, sprout after the flowers. They are usually red when ripe, but they may also be black. Flowers bloom and can be collected in spring, and the berries form in early autumn. The name "hawthorn" was originally applied to the species native to northern Europe, especially the common hawthorn.
Hawthorn berry “haws” have been used to make wine and jelly and to flavor brandy for years, but not many people are aware of the impressive ways this plant has been used as a medicine.Every part of the hawthorn berry, including the flowers, berries, leaves, stems and even the bark, was used to make medicines in ancient Greece and Asia as well as food, also one time it was known as the "bread and cheese tree" because the flowers, berries and leaves are all safe to eat, so it was a lifesaver during famines. Also known as there are hundreds of hawthorn species, and each has its own set of valuable healing compounds.
The hawthorn berry bush belongs to the same family of plants as apples and roses, so it's fitting that the fruit is usually brilliant red. Like roses on steroids, the berries are accompanied by long, woody thorns that can do a lot of damage if you're not cautious.