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Tree Campus: English Hawthorn

Tree Campus SCC is a multi-year and interdisciplinary college initiative to document, map, and celebrate the incredible diversity of trees planted on the campus. With over 200 species, Shoreline Community College is an arboreal paradise that deserves to b


English Hawthorn

Crataegus monogyna (ROSACEAE)



Europe, N.W. Africa, W. Asia



"The haws are extremely important, because they serve as a food source for many birds. These birds disperse the seeds by ingesting and passing the seeds to a new location, where a new hawthorn tree may grow." [1]


Equity: Cultural and Historical Significance

"Common hawthorn trees are very old. For example, there is a common hawthorn in Mayenne, France that supposedly traces back to the 3rd century. Furthermore, in North America, Cretaceous period fossils (from 140-170 million years ago) of common hawthorn have been found, signaling that common hawthorn have been in North America for a long time.

There are many different types of hawthorn found around the world. These hawthorn provide fruit, which is processed or cooked into a number of foods and delicacies. For example, the crataegus pinnatifida, or the Chinese hawthorn, can be made into jams, jellies, candy, wine, or hawflakes (a dried fruit candy formed into a disk). On the other hand, the haw of the crataegus monogyna, or the Common hawthorn found in the Europe, the United States, and Canada, can be eaten raw or be made into a jam, jelly, or fruit preserve.

The fruit of the Crataegus monogyna can also be used medicinally. It has been shown that it can help dilate coronary arteries, which may lower blood pressure and ease the stress on the heart. The heart can more easily gain oxygen from the lungs and oxygenate the rest of the body. The haw may also be used to treat congestive heart failure. Congestive heart failure occurs when your heart has difficulty supplying the body with blood. Blood, then returns to the heart, leading to swelling and fluid buildup. The diuretic properties in the haw can reduce fluid buildup...

Finally, the hawthorn tree has been the state flower of Missouri since 1923.

The hawthorn is the center of many folkloric tales, legends, and beliefs. Interestingly enough, the hawthorn tree in folkloric legends and tales has been endowed with special or magical properties. For example, Serbian and Croatian folklore note that hawthorn stakes were used to slay vampires. Even more, in Gaelic folklore, the hawthorn symbolized the entrance into the otherworld and were strongly connected to fairies." [1]



"The wood of the hawthorn is very hard, durable, and strong. Therefore, it can be fabricated into tool handles, fence posts, and small wooden objects that are meant to last." [1]



[1] Luo, Audrey and Lawal, Tiwadeye (2016).Hawthorn. Yale Nature Walk. Retrieved from

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