Species list


Crataegus monogyna

Common hawthorn

Common hawthorn, single-seeded hawthorn, may, mayblossom, maythorn, quickthorn, whitethorn, motherdie, haw (Eng), majuelo, espino albar (Spa), arç blanc (Cat), iparraldeko elorri zuria (Baq), espiñeiro albar (Glg), estripo-alvar (Por).


DID YOU KNOW...? The fruits of this plant used to be sold and children used them as ammunition for their pea shooters.


The common hawthorn usually occurs as a very branching and variable shrub, which if left to grow can become a small tree up to 10 m tall. The leaves are somewhat reminiscent of parsley; they are deciduous, simple, alternate and have 3 to 7 deep, uneven lobes. The blossom is white, very attractive and abundant. The ripe fruit is like a very small, reddish, fleshy and somewhat mealy apple, 0.5-1 cm across, which contains a single stone. This last fact distinguishes it from the Midland hawthorn (Crataegus laevigata (Poir) DC.) and Crataegus lacinata Ucria.


This hawthorn is possibly the most common accompanying shrub or small tree in all types of Iberian forests, as long as there is enough moisture, but it also grows in thickets, valleys and along boundaries, often forming a tangled canopy with brambles, wild roses and other thorny plants. It is indifferent to soil type and lives from sea level up to altitudes of 2200 m.


It grows naturally across Eurasia and northern Africa, although it is often cultivated as an ornamental for its spectacular blossom. It has been introduced into Madeira, North America, Argentina, Australia and New Zealand. It is abundant throughout the Iberian Peninsula, and lives in all regions. In the driest areas it takes refuge in the mountains and along watercourses.