Look out for the beautiful silhouettes of bare trees - record your sightings on our survey
Why not download our hawthorn fact sheet?
hawthorn fact sheet
Deciduous thorny shrub
Grey, fissured bark on a knotted, twisted trunk
Toothed leaves that appear before a mass of wonderful scented blossom
The deeply lobed leaves turn orange and dark-red in autumn
Fruits ripen to red berries, which are called "haws"
Have a go at making your own hawthorn schnapps
with our recipe in our free hedgerow tipples pack:
hedgerow tipples recipe pack
Very common in hedges, scrub and woodland.
When to look for
Did you know?
- Hawthorn has lots of alternative names including:
Quickthorn - from 'quickset hedging', the ancient technique of creating an enclosure by setting cuttings directly into the earth. Once rooted, they form a dense barrier. 'Quick' refers to the fact the cuttings are living (as in "the quick and the dead").
May - because it flowers in late April to early May.
Bread and cheese tree - the young leaves are edible and were used particularly in times of hardship.
- The name “hawthorn” comes from the Anglo- Saxon “Hagathorn”, where “Haga“ means hedge.
- Although it is effective as a hedge, if allowed to grow freely it will become a tree of around 10 metres
- The hawthorn was thought to be the ancestor of the maypole and was the source of May Day garlands. The rhyme “here we go gathering nuts in May” referred to the collection of knots (not in fact “nuts”) of may blossom
- The saying, "Ne'er cast a clout till May is out" is thought to refer to the hawthorn blossom, not the month and was good advice that summer hadn’t really arrived until the blossom was in flower.