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. It has always been a popular hedge plant! After painstaking research the Victorians planted new hedges exclusively with it along railway embankments.
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.
Unlike Blackthorn it does not sucker and Hawthorn grows much quicker (hence "Quickthorn"), but the two trees are closely linked in a rich and ancient mythology. Hawthorn is still known in some parts as the Faerie Tree.
Although also called the "May Tree", Hawthorn will flower anytime from March to as late as June, at higher altitudes. Its numbers and abundant flowers mean it is a very significant source of Spring nectar and edible winter berries. 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.
Hawthorn is a foodplant for a number of butterfly and moth species and is generally a wonderful wildlife hedge plant. Apparently a total of 149 invertebrate species eat it - the leaves are edible for humans, but pretty tasteless, if I'm being honest ! Additionally there are all the pollinators who visit its blossom. Its habit makes it an ideal refuge for small birds and mammals, who feast on its red berries. The high levels of insects it attracts in spring also mean hedges with a lot of Hawthorn have higher bird populations.
It is an important constituent of our conservation hedge mix.
If you want to use Hawthorn for a hedge, reckon on 5 plants per square 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 Hawthorn plants, which are from the Southwest of England.
Suppliers: Perrie Hale Forest Nursery
50% of our profit on sales of Hawthorn trees is donated to The Tree Council
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 hedge plants placed between March and October are confirmed for dispatch from November.