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Crataegus monogyna - Jacq.

Common Name Hawthorn, Oneseed hawthorn
Family Rosaceae
USDA hardiness 4-8
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Woods, hedges, thickets etc, on most soils except wet peat and poor acid sands[9, 17].
Range Europe, including Britain, absent from Iceland, south and west the the Mediterranean and Afghanistan
Edibility Rating    (3 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (5 of 5)
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Wet Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Crataegus monogyna Hawthorn,  Oneseed hawthorn

Crataegus monogyna Hawthorn,  Oneseed hawthorn


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of shrub
Crataegus monogyna is a deciduous Shrub growing to 6 m (19ft) by 6 m (19ft) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 5 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from May to June, and the seeds ripen from September to November. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Midges.
It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay and nutritionally poor soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid and very alkaline soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist or wet soil and can tolerate drought. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure.
It can tolerate atmospheric pollution.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map



Woodland Garden Secondary; Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Hedge;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Flowers  Fruit  Leaves
Edible Uses: Coffee  Tea

Fruit - raw or cooked[2, 12]. Not very appetizing raw[9, K], it is normally used for making jams and preserves[9, 183]. The fruit can be dried, ground, mixed with flour and used for making bread etc[46]. The fruit is about 1cm in diameter[200]. There are up to five fairly large seeds in the centre of the fruit, these often stick together and so the effect is of eating a cherry-like fruit with a single seed[K]. Young shoots - raw[5, 177]. A pleasant nutty flavour[144], they are a good addition to the salad bowl[183]. A tea is made from the dried leaves[21, 46, 177, 183], it is a china tea substitute. The roasted seeds are a coffee substitute[12, 21, 46, 177]. The flowers are used in syrups and sweet puddings[183].

Medicinal Uses

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Antispasmodic  Astringent  Cardiotonic  Diuretic  Hypotensive  Sedative  Tonic  Vasodilator

Hawthorn is an extremely valuable medicinal herb. It is used mainly for treating disorders of the heart and circulation system, especially angina[254]. Western herbalists consider it a 'food for the heart', it increases the blood flow to the heart muscles and restores normal heart beat[254]. This effect is brought about by the presence of bioflavonoids in the fruit, these bioflavonoids are also strongly antioxidant, helping to prevent or reduce degeneration of the blood vessels[254]. The fruit is antispasmodic, cardiac, diuretic, sedative, tonic and vasodilator[4, 9, 21, 46, 165]. Both the fruits and flowers of hawthorns are well-known in herbal folk medicine as a heart tonic and modern research has borne out this use. The fruits and flowers have a hypotensive effect as well as acting as a direct and mild heart tonic[222]. They are especially indicated in the treatment of weak heart combined with high blood pressure[222], they are also used to treat a heart muscle weakened by age, for inflammation of the heart muscle, arteriosclerosis and for nervous heart problems[21]. Prolonged use is necessary for the treatment to be efficacious[222]. It is normally used either as a tea or a tincture[222]. Hawthorn is combined with ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) to enhance poor memory, working by improving the blood supply to the brain[254]. The bark is astringent and has been used in the treatment of malaria and other fevers[7]. The roots are said to stimulate the arteries of the heart[218].

Our new book Edible Shrubs is now available.

Edible Shrubs provides detailed information, attractively presented, on over 70 shrub species. They have been selected to provide a mix of different plant sizes and growing conditions. Most provide delicious and nutritious fruit, but many also have edible leaves, seeds, flowers, stems or roots, or they yield edible or useful oil.

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Edible Shrubs Book

Other Uses

Fuel  Hedge  Hedge  Wood

A good hedge plant, it is very tolerant of being cut and of neglect and is able to regenerate if cut back severely, it makes a good thorny stock-proof barrier[186] and resists very strong winds. It is often used in layered hedges[11, 29]. The cultivar 'Stricta' has made a very good hedge 3.5 metres tall in an exposed maritime position at Rosewarne in N. Cornwall[K]. Wood - very hard and tough, difficult to work. Used for tool handles etc. Valued in turning[7, 46, 61]. A good fuel, giving out a lot of heat[4].

Cultivation details

A very easily grown plant, it prefers a well-drained moisture retentive loamy soil but is not at all fussy[11, 200]. Succeeds in all but the very poorest acid soils[186]. Once established, it succeeds in excessively moist soils and also tolerates drought[200]. It grows well on a chalk soil and also in heavy clay soils[200]. A position in full sun is best when plants are being grown for their fruit, they also succeed in semi-shade though fruit yields and quality will be lower in such a position[11, 200]. Most members of this genus succeed in exposed positions, they also tolerate atmospheric pollution[200]. A very hardy plant, tolerating temperatures down to at least -18°c[202]. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus and with C. laevigata in the wild[186, 200]. There are many named forms selected for their ornamental value[200]. Seedling trees take from 5 - 8 years before they start bearing fruit, though grafted trees will often flower heavily in their third year[K]. The flowers have a foetid smell somewhat like decaying fish. This attracts midges which are the main means of fertilization. When freshly open, the flowers have more pleasant scent with balsamic undertones[245]. Seedlings should not be left in a seedbed for more than 2 years without being transplanted[11]. In heavier shade they quickly become drawn and leggy, eventually dying[186]. An important food plant for the caterpillars of many lepidoptera species[30], there are 149 insect species associated with this tree[24]. Plants are susceptible to fireblight[200].

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Seed - this is best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a cold frame, some of the seed will germinate in the spring, though most will probably take another year. Stored seed can be very slow and erratic to germinate, it should be warm stratified for 3 months at 15°c and then cold stratified for another 3 months at 4°c[164]. It may still take another 18 months to germinate[78]. Scarifying the seed before stratifying it might reduce this time[80]. Fermenting the seed for a few days in its own pulp may also speed up the germination process[K]. Another possibility is to harvest the seed 'green' (as soon as the embryo has fully developed but before the seedcoat hardens) and sow it immediately in a cold frame. If timed well, it can germinate in the spring[80]. If you are only growing small quantities of plants, it is best to pot up the seedlings as soon as they are large enough to handle and grow them on in individual pots for their first year, planting them out in late spring into nursery beds or their final positions. When growing larger quantities, it might be best to sow them directly outdoors in a seedbed, but with protection from mice and other seed-eating creatures. Grow them on in the seedbed until large enough to plant out, but undercut the roots if they are to be left undisturbed for more than two years.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

European hawthorn; May tree; May-tree; oneseed hawthorn; one-seeded hawthorn; single-seed hawthorn; whitethorn. Spanish: espino albar. French: aubépine a un style; aubépine monogyne. Russian: boyaryshnik odnopestnyi. Portuguese: pirliteiro. Czechoslovakia (former): hloh jednosemenny. Germany: Eingriffeliger Weissdorn; Eingriffliger Weissdorn; Saulenweissdorn. Italy: biancospino; cratego monogino. Netherlands: eenstijlige Meidoorn. Poland: glog jednoszyjkowy. Sweden: trubbhagtorn. UK: common hawthorn; single-seed hawthorn. USA: European hawthorn; singleseed hawthorn.

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Native to most of Europe, North Africa and West Asia. Introduced to North America and Australasia.

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

This plant can be weedy or invasive. An environmental weed, especially on the Pacific coast of North America and parts of Australia and New Zealand. Recently noted as fully naturalized and a potential pest in northern California, USA

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed.

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Crataegus acclivis 42
Crataegus aestivalisEastern Mayhaw, May hawthorn, Mayhaw, Apple Hawthorn32
Crataegus altaicaAltai Mountain Thorn32
Crataegus anomalaArnold hawthorn32
Crataegus apiifoliaParsley-Leaved Hawthorn22
Crataegus aprica 32
Crataegus armena 22
Crataegus arnoldiana 52
Crataegus atrosanguinea 32
Crataegus azarolusAzarole42
Crataegus baroussanaTejocote42
Crataegus caesa 42
Crataegus calpodendronPear Hawthorn32
Crataegus canadensisCanadian hawthorn22
Crataegus canbyiCockspur hawthorn, Dwarf Hawthorn, Cockspur Hawthorn22
Crataegus champlainensisQuebec hawthorn42
Crataegus chlorosarca 32
Crataegus chrysocarpaFireberry Hawthorn, Red haw, Piper's hawthorn,32
Crataegus coccinoidesKansas Hawthorn32
Crataegus columbianaColumbian Hawthorn32
Crataegus crus-galliCockspur Thorn, Cockspur hawthorn, Dwarf Hawthorn22
Crataegus cuneataSanzashi, Chinese hawthorn33
Crataegus dilatataBroadleaf hawthorn32
Crataegus dispessaMink hawthorn32
Crataegus douglasiiBlack Hawthorn42
Crataegus durobrivensisCaughuawaga Hawthorn42
Crataegus ellwangerianaScarlet Hawthorn52
Crataegus elongata 42
Crataegus festiva 52
Crataegus flabellataFanleaf hawthorn32


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Botanical References


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Readers comment

Steve Hanson   Wed Feb 1 2006

Thanks I found this information invaluable

Le Bois de Grammont Simple, Economical and Purposeful Living

   Sun Feb 11 2007

What is the Active Ingredient

Ken Fern, Plants for a Future   Sun Feb 11 2007

Perhaps the most important medicinal constituents of hawthorn are the bioflavonoids, particularly rutin and quercitin. These relax and dilate the arteries, especially the coronary arteries, thus increasing the flow of blood to the heart muscles and reducing the symptoms of angina. The bioflavonoids are also strongly antioxidant, helping to prevent or reduce degeneration of the blood vessels. Hawthorn also contains triterpenoid saponins. These are often strongly expectorant and may also aid in the absorption of nutrients. The fruits contain small quantities of cyanogenic glycosides. Whilst these are poisonous in large doses, in the small quantities found in the hawthorn fruit they have a helpful sedative and relaxant effect on the heart and muscles. In addition, the plant also contains tannins which coagulate proteins and are therefore valuable for staunching both internal and external bleeding. In addition, they dry up mucous membranes and are often used in the treatment of diarrhoea and dysentery.

Harry Starkweather   Thu Feb 15 2007

Where else can Hawthorn be found? Can it be found in America?

Ken Fern, Plants for a Future   Thu Feb 15 2007

This species has a natural range that covers most of Europe and western Asia. It is not a native plant in America, though it has become naturalized in many areas there. Indeed, in California it has been declared an invasive plant and people are asked not to grow it there. There are a great many native N. American species of hawthorn - unlike this species many of the American species have quite large and very tasty fruits.

Gregory Claeys Bouuaert   Fri Aug 29 2008

I have one small notice/quetion. I have read in a some book(in french) that the name "Crataegus monogyna" refer to the fact that this species fruit has only one seed. It say the same in wikipedia (wich may or may not be a reference). If this is true maybe the next sentance should be removed : "There are up to five fairly large seeds in the centre of the fruit, these often stick together and so the effect is of eating a cherry-like fruit with a single seed[K]"

edward   Sun Jan 24 2010

I agree with Gregory, although I am itching to pull a haw apart next autumn and double check! But no, I am certain that there is a single seed in each Crataegus monogyna haw fruit. The haws are often carried in bunches of about five, but I don't think that that is the source of the confusion. There are many Crataegus species and the name Hawthorn gets around a lot: I don't know which particular species is causing the confusion, but there are plenty to choose from.

Ashridge Trees - Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna!) More about Hawthorn

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