Monday, June 7, 2010

Crataegus laevigata - English Hawthorn

Crataegus laevigata: Crataegus is the Greek name for this genus of trees. Derives from kratos meaning strength, referring to hardness of wood; laevigatais Latin meaning 'having a smooth or slippery surface.'

Previously known as C. oxyacantha from the Greek ‘oxus’ meaning sharp and ‘akantha’ meaning thorn.

Small stature tree from Europe. Greeks and Romans associated Hawthorne with marriage and fertility.

The straight species has white hermaphroditic flowers with a single whorl of petals in terminal corymbs. Flowers appear in spring and attract bees.

Cultivars with pink to red double and single flowers are common.

Clusters of small red, fleshy, pome fruits contain 1-5 seeds and are persistent through winter, attracting birds. Fruit is larger and purer red than C. phaenopyrum. Hawthorne Berries have been used since the nineteenth century to support the heart and to normalize cardiovascular functions.

Linnaeus' original description of C. oxyacantha was later disambiguated into C. monogyna (left) and C. laevigata (right), the main difference being the depth of the sinuses between lobes. C. laevigata also has rounder lobes and serrate margins, whereas C. monogyna can have entire margins or points just at the tips of lobes.

Branches have sharp 1" spines. The branches of this tree are said to have furnished Christ's crown of thorns.

Bark is reddish brown to gray and becomes scaly or peels in thin narrow strips with age.


  1. I'm lucky to have just found your tree blog. Great post on the hawthorne!

  2. Wow, nice site.

    I'm upgrading my symbols site at and wondered if I could luse the second photo - the one with white blossoms - on my page at

    I just upgraded my flower pages at,, and, which will give you an idea of how I am using photos.

    If it's OK to use your photo, please advise me how to credit it and what page you'd like me to link to.


    P.S. Do wild hawthorns usually have pink or white blossoms?

  3. The question that everyone wants to know ....

    C. monogyna = white blossoms?
    C. laevigata = pink blossoms?