Also known as Scarlet Hawthorn. Hardy deciduous shrub tolerant of most soils and sites including extremes of very wet and very dry, strong winds and atmospheric pollution. Heavy yields of fruit which can be up to 25mm in diameter and has acid-sweet flesh reminiscent of a slightly mealy apple. It can be eaten raw, cooked, or dried, and alone or blended with other fruit it can be processed into jams, jellies, wines, fruit leathers etc. It is high in pectin so is a useful addition to low pectin fruits to aid jam setting. Our kids love the fruit on these plants, they can be eaten like tiny apples and are great for lunchboxes. The young leaves in spring are also edible.
With various species indigenous to countries across the northern hemisphere, hawthorns have a long-recorded history of medicinal use in Europe, China and North America. Hawthorn is of the best known plants in western herbalism, the flowers, leaves and fruit are all used and have a specific action on the heart. Hawthorn is a troporestorative, ie. it has long-term restorative benefits to the heart and circulatory system when taken over time—it heals the heart and helps it function better. It strengthens the heartbeat and aids in smoothing out the rhythm of the heart. The fruit contains several medically active constituents including flavonoids and organic acids and has been shown to lower blood cholesterol levels and regulate high blood pressure – it relaxes tension and helps dilate the blood vessels to allow blood to flow more freely. The berries are anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant. The flowers and berries are also astringent and can be used in a decoction for sore throats. In China the fruits are also eaten dried to aid digestion.
Hawthorn leaves are edible and palatable as cattle fodder, and the tree can be a useful part of a chook fodder system.
Height to 6m, but can easily be kept pruned smaller. Watch out for a few large thorns on older branches. Makes a good hedgerow/shelter planting.
PB5. Height 70-100cm. Certified organic plant.