[Hawthorn] (Eng), espino negro, majoleto, majuelo (Spa).
DID YOU KNOW...? This species of hawthorn has a very restricted range, and many specimens are old because it is fed on by herbivores, limiting its regeneration even in protected areas.
Deciduous species very similar in appearance to the common hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna Jacq.). It is differentiated by being less thorny and by having woolly leaves and twigs, these latter being darker, almost black in colour. It can be up to 10 m tall if it is left to grow, although it does not usually exceed 6 m. The leaves are simple, alternate, with a wedge-shaped base and 2 or 3 pairs of lateral lobes similar to those of the common hawthorn. The little white flowers grow in bunches at the end of spring or in the summer. The fruits resemble those of the common hawthorn but are a little larger, up to 2 cm in diameter, red-orangey, yellowish or dark red in colour, and pear-shaped. They contain 2 or 3 small stones (exceptionally up to 5), a fact which also differentiates these species.
This type of hawthorn is a constituent of the thorny shrubby fringes found beside forests of pine, Portuguese oak, holm oak and other Mediterranean mid-mountain woodlands, sometimes coexisting with the common hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna Jacq.). We can find it on rocky slopes and in mountain valleys, primarily on chalky soils, at altitudes of between 1000 m and 1900 m.
Its range spans an area covering southwestern Europe and northern Africa (Morocco and Algeria), where it is found in cedar forests. On the Iberian Peninsula it is restricted to the southeastern mountain ranges of Segura, Cazorla, Alcaraz, Las Villas, el Gigante, la Sagra and Madrona.