Hawthorn

Crataegus monogyna

Details:

Hawthorn, Crataegus monogyna, is a fast growing tree ("Quickthorn"), widespread across the UK and tolerant of most conditions. It has attractive blossom and red berries, which together with its thorny habit make it a great tree for wildlife. It is often used as a hedge plant. Like all our native plants, our Hawthorn is grown in the UK from British stock. Please see below for more details. 


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This item has seasonality November-March and will only be shipped during this time.

Growth

After 10 yrs

Height: 4m
Width: 2m

At Maturity

Height: 14m
Width: 5m

Product Details

Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna)

Hawthorn, Crataegus monogyna, is a fast growing small tree of hedgerows, beautiful in flower. As a hedge plant it lays well and forms a good stockproof - and people proof - barrier. It grows fast (hence "Quickthorn"), it's easy to grow, and tolerates nearly all conditions including shade. Although also called the "May Tree", Hawthorn will flower anytime from March to as late as June, at higher altitudes. It thrives in these kind of exposed situations. It has always been a popular hedge plant; after painstaking research the Victorians planted new hedges exclusively with it along railway embankments. Unlike Blackthorn it does not sucker, which makes it ideal for a garden hedge. We have another native plant which is closely related - Midland hawthorn (Crataegus laevigata). It's much rarer and hybridises freely, so is (almost) impossible to find commercially.


History

There is evidence of Hawthorn being used in hedges since the Iron Age. Its English name seems to have come from the Saxon words for hedge or enclosure and thorn. During the Enclosure movements of the 18th and 19th centuries it became very prevalent as a hedge plant; 200,000 miles of Hawthorn hedge were planted. In Anglo Saxon times it was often used as a boundary marker, and some Medieval trees still live on today.


Mythology

Hawthorn is still known in some parts, including Ireland, as the Faerie Tree. Its blossom also lent it the name "Whitethorn", but is considered unlucky to bring into the house. Curiously, recent investigation has shown that it releases the same chemical - and smell - that recently dead bodies do. There must be a connection.


Value For Wildlife

Its numbers and abundant flowers mean Crataegus mongyna is a very significant source of Spring nectar and edible winter berries if sympathetically managed. Hawthorn is a foodplant for a number of butterfly and moth species too, and is generally a wonderful wildlife plant. Apparently a total of 149 invertebrate species eat it (the new leaves, petals and haws are edible for humans too and apparently high in anti-oxidants, but pretty tasteless, if I'm being honest! Don't eat the haws raw, as they might make you ill; they're best made into wine or jam). Additionally there are all the pollinators who visit its blossom. Its habit makes it an ideal refuge and nest site for small birds and mammals, who feast on its red berries. The vast numbers of insects it attracts in spring also mean hedges with a lot of Hawthorn have higher bird populations.


Plants For Sale

Hawthorn is an important constituent of our conservation hedge mix, but if you wanted to use it on its own or for a hedge of your own design, reckon on 5 plants per linear metre in a double staggered row. Plant 50cms or wider apart. We recommend using Rootgrow to aid fast and good establishment.


Provenance certificates are available on request for our Crataegus monogyna plants, which are from the Southwest of England. Our supplier is a member of the Woodland Trust's UK Sourced and Grown Assurance Scheme.
Suppliers: Perrie Hale Forest Nursery

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See our planting and size guide for details and tips on planting. Our Hawthorn plants are all supplied bare root, and are consequently available for delivery from November until March ( please ask if you are interested in pot grown plants). During the lifting season there may be up to two week's delay between placing the order and dispatching, due to weather conditions or pressure of orders, which are dealt with in date sequence. Orders for Crataegus monogyna placed between March and October are confirmed for dispatch from November.