The Hawthorn Flower: Beautiful and Useful in Healing

5 min read

The hawthorn flower, scientifically known as crataegus laevigata, is a small thorny tree belonging to the Rosacea family. This hardy officinal plant, with sturdy wood, was used by witches against evil spirits.

Hawthorns are small, very hardy, and resistant trees that grow in the sun or semi-shade and adapt to any soil: poor, stony, or even clay. Today, the hawthorn is recognized for its benefits and virtues on health.

In this article, we are going to discover some golden tips for planting this beautiful flower including the following:

* Description
* Hawthorn flower at a glance
* Planting
* Propagation
* Care and maintenance
* Pests and diseases
* Medicinal properties

Description

Native to the entire northern hemisphere (North America, Asia, Europe, and even North Africa), hawthorns belong to the rosacea family. The genus crataegus includes more than a 100 different species, not to mention hybrids and subspecies.

They are all small, bushy, deciduous trees growing on a single trunk. In European species, the alternate leaves are deeply lobed, from three to nine lobes, while American and Asian species, the leaves are oval and straightforward. The grey bark is fluted and rough.

They are also thorny and strongly branched shrubs, ideal for defensive hedges, and to protect birds during nesting periods and micro-mammals throughout the year.

The white, pink, or red flowers, depending on the species or cultivar, with five petals, bloom in May and are grouped in corymbs. The stamens are red. These flowers are fragrant and very honey-like. Additionally, they can be single, semi-double, or double blooms.

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Hawthorn Flower at a Glance

The hawthorn is a small tree or large shrub that is very rustic, tight, and can adapt to most soils or situations.
They bloom in May and produce edible fruit in September.

In the garden, you can use them as a trimmed hedge, as an open hedge or as a small ornamental tree.
Hawthorns provide shelter and food for insects, birds, and small mammals.

There are many varieties, some with double flowers. They are very decorative and beautiful.

Planting

To plant a hawthorn with bare roots, you should dress the stems, cut off the dead ones and shorten some that are too long. Then, dip the roots in a praline, a mixture of manure, soil, and water. Then, dig a trench or several holes of sufficient volume to spread the roots. Make sure to place the shrubs and fill in the gaps with the soil. Sprinkle to avoid possible air holes, then lightly pack the clay at the feet of young shrubs and mulch.

In buckets, immerse your pots or containers in water for one hour to moisten the root ball. Dig your holes and remove your shrubs. Throw some ripe compost down the shaft. Place the bushes and fill in the holes with the soil. Water well to avoid possible air gaps between the ground and the roots. Cut at the foot of the shrubs and mulch.

Propagation

Per seed –

This is the simplest and most effective method, and the birds often do the work for you. It is not surprising to find hawthorn seedlings scattered at random in the garden. However, if you wish to sow the seedlings yourself, you should have to wait at least through the winter. This is because the seed needs stratification to germinate.

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By grafting –

If you wish to reproduce a specific variety, you can proceed with a patch grafting. This is not complicated but usually produces an unsightly blister at the grafting point.

Care and Maintenance

Hawthorn requires very little care. Just remember to water it the first year after planting during drought period in summer. Hawthorn is particularly beautiful with proper pruning.

The annual pruning of a hedge can always be done after flowering, around the end of June or beginning of July. Hawthorn can be pruned very short. At earlier stages, don’t hesitate to prune more from the moment of planting. It can lead the plant to branch out.

To turn a hawthorn into a tree, cut off the low side branches and any shoots. As the years go by, slowly move up the top to keep a single trunk. Finally, be aware that in a free hedge or a slightly wild mountain range, you may as well not take out your pruning shears and let your hawthorn grow freely.

Pests and Diseases

The hawthorn is a small, hardy tree, but sometimes suffers slight difficulties, often of an aesthetic nature, but very rarely dangerous to the tree. For example, powdery mildew is a fungal disease that attacks almost all plants. A slight white felting covers the leaves. However, it’s not dangerous for a hawthorn. To avoid this, space your trees and shrubs sufficiently and do not wet the foliage when it is scorching.

Rust occurs in hot, humid weather. It can be recognized by its large rust-colored spots on the leaves, blocking some photosynthesis and weakening the tree a little. Remove the few affected leaves. A treatment with nettle or horsetail manure is generally useful.

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Medicinal Properties

The medicinal properties of hawthorn flowers have long been recognized and used in many countries. The plant calms heart palpitations and facilitates blood transportation from the arteries to the heart. In any case, it is not a question of treating a severe pathological cardiac insufficiency. Hawthorn only helps the people with cardiac rhythm disorders. Also, women experiencing palpitations during menopause can use hawthorn.

Nervous, anxious people who have difficulty sleeping can find a natural remedy by using hawthorn in herbal medicine.

The red fruits of hawthorn are berries and taste like cinnamon. They are astringent and good for sore throats. They have the same chemical properties as the flowers.

There are many species of hawthorn belonging to the genus Crataegus. These are particularly hardy small trees or large deciduous shrubs. The two native species are called crataegus laevigata and crataegus monogyna. Although they do not like to grow in dense shade, you can adapt them to all other situations and all types of soil. They are rustic and are among the most successful small flowering trees in the garden. Their fragrant and flowering in white and pink in may is a delight for bees. The tangle of thorny twigs can serve as a safe shelter for the entire garden’s fauna.

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