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Crataegus laevigata

Midland hawthorn

Midland hawthorn, English hawthorn, woodland hawthorn, mayflower (Eng), espino navarro, espino blanco (Spa), espinalb centreuropeu (Cat), hegoaldeko elorri zuria (Baq).

Native

DID YOU KNOW...? This small tree is frequently cultivated as an ornamental and has numerous varieties used in gardening.

DESCRIPTION

The Midland hawthorn tends be a very thorny shrub, but can be seen as a small tree up to 8 m tall. The entire plant is covered with steely spines up to 25 mm long, and the young twigs are hairless. The leaves are deciduous, simple , and alternate. They usually have 3 to 5 shallow lobes , are serrated at the edge and have a wedge-shaped base. The flowers appear in spring and the ripe fruits are red, pea-sized and contain two or three nutlets, distinguishing this species from the common hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna Jacq.), which only has one.

ECOLOGY

This plant grows associated with beech or oak forests in the regions it inhabits, almost always forming part of the thorny, shrubby fringe along with blackthorn, wild roses, brambles, and other hawthorns with which it sometimes forms hybrids. It mainly lives between altitudes of 500 and 900 m.

DISTRIBUTION

This is a European species, which is most abundant in the centre and north of the continent. On the Iberian Peninsula, we find it growing spontaneously in the Basque country, Navarra, La Rioja and surrounding areas.