Trees to look for in May — Hawthorn

Photo credit: Tamsin Bent

Where to look

It is commonly found growing in hedgerows, woodland and scrub. It will grow in most soils, but flowers and fruits best in full sun.


 Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) trees can grow up to 15 metres tall but they are usually found in hedges, with the Anglo Saxon word, ‘haga’ meaning both hedge and hawthorn! Their flowers are hermaphrodite (contain both male and female reproductive parts) and are highly scented to attract insect pollinators. The flowers are often also called May blossom, after the month in which they bloom. Once pollinated, the flowers develop into red fruit known as 'haws'. Although they look like berries, they are a type of fruit known as a pome, which is a fleshy fruit (such as an apple or pear) made up of an outer thick fleshy layer and a central core with usually five seeds enclosed in a capsule. Haws are an important food source for birds which then spread the seeds in their poo! 

For more info see

Where we've found Hawthorns

Hawthorn spottings journal (14 seen)

Last seen Location Spotted by Group Notes
14 Jun 2020 Goss Moor Gav Blended Pretty hawthorn on Goss Moor, Cornwall.
27 May 2020 stroud Stroud Valley Community School In my hedge i planted with other natural species
25 May 2020 Minchinhampton Common by the phone box in Amberley Alison New Ventures Trust On Minchinhampton Common, the hawthorn blossomed really early this year due to the warm weather, so I was lucky to catch this.
19 May 2020 Capel's Mill Jo The Weaver's
19 May 2020 Rodborough common Ella The Weaver's
12 May 2020 Wales Class Found in the garden
12 May 2020 City Bank Nature Reserve Ireland Class Found by Bethan
7 May 2020 The Heavens, Stroud Gabb
6 May 2020 Mrs Shakeshaft and Daniel St John's on-the-Hill Lots of hawthorn in our hedge but this is the first blossom.
5 May 2020 Shoreditch park Barbie ClH
1 May 2020 Quaker's Walk Devizes Devizes Cooks&Co Hawthorn in bloom
1 May 2020 Nanny and Pops Cooks&Co Along the banks of the K&A Canal 01/05/2020
30 Apr 2020 Centre Stroud Trinity In garden and out and about on the commons - lots of different sorts
17 Apr 2020 Hamwell Lees Tamsin Stroud Valleys Project I saw the first hawthorn flowers today!


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