Fruit of four different species of Crataegus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Rosales
Family: Rosaceae
Subfamily: Amygdaloideae
Tribe: Maleae
Subtribe: Malinae
Genus: Crataegus
Tourn. ex L.

See text

Crataegus (play /krəˈtɡəs/),[1] commonly called hawthorn or thornapple,[2] is a large genus of shrubs and trees in the rose family, Rosaceae, native to temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere in Europe, Asia and North America. The name hawthorn was originally applied to the species native to northern Europe, especially the Common Hawthorn C. monogyna, and the unmodified name is often so used in Britain and Ireland. However the name is now also applied to the entire genus, and also to the related Asian genus Rhaphiolepis.

Close up of the flowers of C. monogyna

They are shrubs or small trees, mostly growing to 5–15 m tall,[3] with small pome fruit and (usually) thorny branches. The most common type of bark is smooth grey in young individuals, developing shallow longitudinal fissures with narrow ridges in older trees. The thorns are small sharp-tipped branches that arise either from other branches or from the trunk, and are typically 1–3 cm long (recorded as up to 11.5 cm in one case[3]page 97). The leaves grow spirally arranged on long shoots, and in clusters on spur shoots on the branches or twigs. The leaves of most species have lobed or serrate margins and are somewhat variable in shape. The fruit, sometimes known as a "haw", is berry-like, but structurally a pome containing from 1 to 5 pyrenes that resemble the "stones" of plums, peaches, etc. which are drupaceous fruit in the same subfamily.

Hawthorns provide food and shelter for many species of birds and mammals, and the flowers are important for many nectar-feeding insects. Hawthorns are also used as food plants by the larvae of a large number of Lepidoptera species; see List of Lepidoptera that feed on hawthorns. Haws are important for wildlife in winter, particularly thrushes and waxwings; these birds eat the haws and disperse the seeds in their droppings.

Many species and hybrids are used as ornamental and street trees. The Common Hawthorn is extensively used in Europe as a hedge plant. Several cultivars of the Midland Hawthorn C. laevigata have been selected for their pink or red flowers. Hawthorns are among the trees most recommended for water conservation landscapes.[citation needed]



The number of species in the genus depends on taxonomic interpretation. Some botanists in the past recognised a thousand or more species,[4] many of which are apomictic microspecies. It is estimated that a reasonable number is 200 species,[3] but it is not yet clear how many species should be recognized because "a large portion of the synonymy, especially in North American Crataegus, has not been worked out."[5]

Selected species

The name Crataegus apiifolia has been applied to two different species, but both are illegitimate names. Crataegus oxyacantha is a rejected name, currently thought to be a heterotypic synonym of Crataegus rhipidophylla

See also

  • List of hawthorn species with yellow fruit
  • List of hawthorn species with black fruit

Selected hybrids


Although it is commonly stated that hawthorns can be propagated by cutting, this is difficult to achieve with rootless stem pieces. Small plants or suckers are often transplanted from the wild. Seeds require stratification and take one or two years to germinate.[7] Seed germination is improved if the pyrenes that contain the seed are subjected to extensive drying at room temperature, before stratification.[8] Uncommon forms can be grafted onto seedlings of other species.[7]


Culinary use

The fruits of the species Crataegus pinnatifida (Chinese Hawthorn) are tart, bright red, and resemble small crabapple fruits. They are used to make many kinds of Chinese snacks, including haw flakes and tanghulu (糖葫芦). The fruits, which are called shānzhā () in Chinese, are also used to produce jams, jellies, juices, alcoholic beverages, and other drinks [1]. In South Korea, a liquor called sansachun (산사춘) is made from the fruits.[2]

The fruits of Crataegus mexicana are known in Mexico as tejocotes and are eaten raw, cooked, or in jam during the winter months. They are stuffed in the piñatas broken during the traditional pre-Christmas celebration known as Las Posadas. They are also cooked with other fruits to prepare a Christmas punch. The mixture of tejocote paste, sugar, and chili powder produces a popular Mexican candy called rielitos, which is manufactured by several brands.

In the southern United States fruits of three native species are collectively known as mayhaws and are made into jellies which are considered a great delicacy. On Manitoulin Island in Canada, some red-fruited species are called hawberries. They are common there thanks to the island's distinctive alkaline soil. During the pioneer days, white settlers ate these fruits during the winter as the only remaining food supply. People born on the island are now called "haweaters".

In Iran, the fruits of Crataegus azarolus (var. aronia) are known as zalzalak and are eaten raw as a snack, or used as in a jam known by the same name.

The leaves are edible and, if picked in spring when still young, they are tender enough to be used in salads.[9]

Medicinal use

Several species of hawthorn have been used in traditional medicine, and there is considerable interest in testing hawthorn products for evidence-based medicine. The products being tested are often derived from C. monogyna, C laevigata, or related Crataegus species, "collectively known as hawthorn",[10] not necessarily distinguishing between these species, which are very similar in appearance.[3] A meta-analysis of previous studies concluded that there is evidence of benefit for an extract in treating chronic heart failure.[11] A 2010 review[12] cites the need for further study of the best dosages and concludes that although "many different theoretical interactions between Crataegus and orthodox medications have been postulated ... none have [yet] been substantiated.[12]

The dried fruits of Crataegus pinnatifida (called shān zhā in Chinese) are used in naturopathic medicine and traditional Chinese medicine, primarily as a digestive aid. A closely related species, Crataegus cuneata (Japanese Hawthorn, called sanzashi in Japanese) is used in a similar manner. Other species (especially Crataegus laevigata) are used in herbal medicine where the plant is believed to strengthen cardiovascular function.[13]

Another use of this herb is as a mild sedative in promotion of sleep.[citation needed] Hawthorn should not be used during pregnancy.[citation needed]

Active ingredients found in hawthorn include tannins, flavonoids (such as vitexin, rutin, quercetin, and hyperoside), oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs, such as epicatechin, procyanidin, and particularly procyanidin B-2), flavone-C, triterpene acids (such ursolic acid, oleanolic acid, and crataegolic acid), and phenolic acids (such as caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid, and related phenolcarboxylic acids). Standardization of hawthorn products is based on content of flavonoids (2.2%) and OPCs (18.75%).[14][15]

Human studies

Several pilot studies have assessed the ability of hawthorn to help improve exercise tolerance in people with NYHA class II cardiac insufficiency compared to placebo. One experiment, at (300 mg/day) for 4 to 8 weeks, found no difference from placebo. The second study, including 78 subjects (600 mg/day) for 8 weeks, found "significant improvement in exercise tolerance" and lower blood pressure and heart rate during exercise. The third, including 32 subjects (900 mg/day) for 8 weeks, found improved exercise tolerance as well as a reduction in the "incidence and severity of symptoms such as dyspnea" and fatigue decreased by approximately 50%.[10]

In the HERB-CHF (Hawthorn Extract Randomized Blinded Chronic HF Study) clinical study, 120 patients took 450 mg of hawthorn extract twice daily for 6 months in combination with standard therapy and a standardized exercise program. "No effects of hawthorn were seen on either quality-of-life endpoint (Tables 1 and 2), or when adjusted for LVEF".[16]

One research program, consisting of 1,011 patients taking one tablet (standardized to 84.3 mg procyanidin) twice daily for 24 weeks, found "improvements in clinical symptoms (such as fatigue, palpitations, and exercise dyspnea), performance and exercise tolerance test, and ejection fraction".[17]

Side effects

Overdose can cause cardiac arrhythmia and dangerously lower blood pressure. Milder side effects include nausea and sedation.[18]

Other uses

Hawthorn rootstock on a medlar tree in Totnes, United Kingdom.

The wood of some hawthorn species is very hard and resistant to rot. In rural North America it was prized for use as tool handles and fence posts.


Hawthorn can also be used as a rootstock in the practice of grafting. It is graft-compatible with Mespilus (medlar), and with pear, and makes a hardier rootstock than quince, but the thorny suckering habit of the hawthorn can be problematic.[3]

Seedlings of Crataegus monogyna, have been used to graft multiple species on the same trunk, such as Pink hawthorn, pear tree and medlar, the result being trees which give pink and white flowers in May and fruits during the summer. "Chip budding" has also been performed on hawthorn trunks in order to have several branches of several varieties on the same tree. Such trees can be seen in Vigo, Spain and in the north west of France (mainly in Brittany).[citation needed]


The custom of employing the flowering branches for decorative purposes on the 1st of May is of very early origin; but since the adoption of the Gregorian calendar in 1752, the tree has rarely been in full bloom in England before the second week of that month. In the Scottish Highlands the flowers may be seen as late as the middle of June. The saying "Ne'er cast a cloot til Mey's oot" conveys a warning not to shed any cloots (clothes) before the summer has fully arrived and the may flowers (hawthorn blossoms) are in full bloom.[19][20]

The hawthorn has been regarded as the emblem of hope, and its branches are stated to have been carried by the ancient Greeks in wedding processions, and to have been used by them to deck the altar of Hymenaios. The supposition that the tree was the source of Jesus's crown of thorns gave rise doubtless to the tradition current (as of 1911) among the French peasantry that it utters groans and cries on Good Friday, and probably also to the old popular superstition in Great Britain and Ireland that ill-luck attended the uprooting of hawthorns. Branches of Glastonbury Thorn, (C. monogyna 'Biflora',[3] sometimes called C. oxyacantha var. praecox), which flowers both in December and in spring, were formerly highly valued in England, on account of the legend that the tree was originally the staff of Joseph of Arimathea.[21]

In Celtic lore, the hawthorn plant was used commonly for rune inscriptions[citation needed] along with Yew and Apple. It was once said to heal the broken heart. In Ireland, the red fruit is, or was in living memory[citation needed], called the Johnny MacGorey or Magory.

Serbian and Croatian folklore notes hawthorn (Serbian глог / glog, Croatian glog) is particularly deadly to vampires, and stakes used for their slaying must be made from the wood of the thorn tree[citation needed].

In Gaelic folklore, hawthorn (in Scottish Gaelic, Sgitheach and in Irish, sceach) 'marks the entrance to the otherworld' and is strongly associated with the fairies.[22] Lore has it that it is very unlucky to cut the tree at any time other than when it is in bloom, however during this time it is commonly cut and decorated as a May Bush (see Beltane).[23] This warning persists to modern times; it has been questioned by folklorist Bob Curran whether the ill luck of the De Lorean Motor Company was associated with the destruction of a fairy thorn to make way for a production facility.[24]

Hawthorn trees are often found beside clootie wells; at these types of holy wells they are sometimes known as 'rag trees', for the strips of cloth which are tied to them as part of healing rituals.[25] 'When all fruit fails, welcome haws' was once a common expression in Ireland.


  1. ^ Sunset Western Garden Book, 1995:606–607
  2. ^ Voss, E.G. 1985. Michigan Flora: A guide to the identification and occurrence of the native and naturalized seed-plants of the state. Part II: Dicots (Saururaceae–Cornaceae). Cranbrook Institute of Science and University of Michigan Herbarium, Ann Arbor, Michigan, U.S.A.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Phipps, J.B., O’Kennon, R.J., Lance, R.W. (2003). Hawthorns and medlars. Royal Horticultural Society, Cambridge, U.K.
  4. ^ Palmer, E.J. (1925). Synopsis of North American Crataegi. Journal of the Arnold Arboretum. 6(1-2): 5–128.
  5. ^ Phipps, J.B.; Robertson, K.R.; Smith, P.G.; Rohrer, J.R. (1990). A checklist of the subfamily Maloideae (Rosaceae). Canadian Journal of Botany. 68(10): 2209–2269.
  6. ^ Missouri State Flower
  7. ^ a b Bailey, L.H.; Bailey, E.Z.; the staff of the Liberty Hyde Bailey Hortorium. 1976. Hortus third: A concise dictionary of plants cultivated in the United States and Canada. Macmillan, New York.
  8. ^ Bujarska-Borkowska, B. (2002) Breaking of seed dormancy, germination and seedling emergence of the common hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna Jacq.). Dendrobiology. 47(Supplement): 61–70.
  9. ^ Richard Mabey, Food for Free, Collins, October 2001.
  10. ^ a b Harry Fong & Jerry Bauman 2002. Alternative Medicines for Cardiovascular Diseases--Hawthorn, Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing 16(4):1-8]
  11. ^ Pittler MH, Guo R, Ernst E (2008). Hawthorn extract for treating chronic heart failure. In Guo, Ruoling. "Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews". Cochrane Database Syst Rev Jan 23 (1): CD005312. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD005312.pub2. PMID 18254076. 
  12. ^ a b Tassell, M.; Kingston, R.; Gilroy, D.; Lehane, M.; Furey, A. (2010). Hawthorn (Crataegus spp.) in the treatment of cardiovascular disease. Pharmacognosy Review. 4(7): 32-41.
  13. ^ Dharmananda S. (2004). Hawthorn (Crataegus). Food and Medicine in China. January. Institute of Traditional Medicine Online. 
  14. ^ American College of Healthcare Sciences, Summary of Medical Articles.
  15. ^ Ed Greenwood 1995, Electronic version of A Modern Herbal: The Medicinal, Culinary, Cosmetic and Economic Properties, Cultivation and Folk-Lore of Herbs, Grasses, Fungi, Shrubs & Trees with their Modern Scientific Uses, by Mrs. M. Grieve, first published 1931.
  16. ^ Aaronson K: HERB-CHF: Hawthorn Extract Randomized Blinded Chronic Heart Failure Trial. In, 2004
  17. ^ Sweet JMRBV (2002). Hawthorn: Pharmacology and therapeutic uses. American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy 59: 417-422
  18. ^ Sloan-Kettering - Hawthorn
  19. ^ "Scuil Wab: Wird O The Month - Mey". Scottish Language Dictionaries. 2003. Archived from the original on 2008-06-04. Retrieved 2008-05-28. 
  20. ^ "Ne'er cast a clout till May be out". The Phrase Finder. Retrieved 2008-05-28. 
  21. ^ "Hawthorn" article in the 1911 Encyclopedia
  22. ^ Campbell, John Gregorson (1900, 1902, 2005) The Gaelic Otherworld. Edited by Ronald Black. Edinburgh, Birlinn Ltd. ISBN 1-84158-207-7 p.345
  23. ^ Danaher, Kevin (1972) The Year in Ireland: Irish Calendar Customs Dublin, Mercier. ISBN 1-85635-093-2 pp.86-127
  24. ^ Monaghan, Patricia (2004-03-11). The Red-Haired Girl from the Bog: The Landscape of Celtic Myth and Spirit. New World Library. p. 67. ISBN 978-1577314585. 
  25. ^ Healy, Elizabeth (2002) In Search of Ireland's Holy Wells. Dublin, Wolfhound Press ISBN 0-86327-865-5 pp.56-7, 69, 81

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Поможем решить контрольную работу

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Crataegus — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Para otros usos ver Espino ? Crataegus Espino común, o Majuelo (Crataegus monogyna) …   Wikipedia Español

  • Crataegus — Cra*t[ae] gus (kr? t? g?s), n. [NL., fr. Gr. krataigo s.] (Bot.) A genus of small, hardy trees, including the hawthorn, much used for ornamental purposes. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Crataegus — L. (Weißdorn), s. Mespilus …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Crataegus — L., Pflanzengattg. der Rosazeen, dornige Sträucher und Bäume mit beerenartigen Früchten. C. oxyacantha L. und monoygna L. (Weißdorn, Hagedorn, Mehldorn) in Deutschland in zahlreichen Abarten zu Hecken benutzt, das harte Holz zu Drechslerarbeiten; …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Crataegus —   [zu griechisch krátos »Stärke« und ágein »führen« (wegen der Härte des Holzes)], die Gattung Weißdorn.   …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Crataegus — Weißdorne Zweigriffeliger Weißdorn (Crataegus laevigata) Systematik Ordnung …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Crataegus — Aubépine Aubépine …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Crataegus — noun thorny shrubs and small trees: hawthorn; thorn; thorn apple • Syn: ↑genus Crataegus • Hypernyms: ↑rosid dicot genus • Member Holonyms: ↑Rosaceae, ↑family Rosaceae, ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • Crataegus — gudobelė statusas T sritis vardynas apibrėžtis Erškėtinių (Rosaceae) šeimos augalų gentis (Crataegus). atitikmenys: lot. Crataegus angl. hawthorn; thorn; thorn apple vok. Dorn; Hagedorn; Weißdorn rus. боярышник lenk. głóg …   Dekoratyvinių augalų vardynas

  • crataegus — noun Any plant of the genus Crataegus, the hawthorns …   Wiktionary

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”