Midland Thorn (Crataegus laevigata)


Two styled Thorn (Crataegus oxyacantha) (family - Rosaceae)

Description: Deciduous shrub or tree with red flowers. Can have single trunk. Height Max 10m

Where found: Heavy soils. Natural distribution throughout South and East England.


Flowers Leaves Fruit Ripen Fall
May/June April Aug Oct Nov

Similar species: Crataegus monogyna - common Hawthorn is a closely related native tree - see later. The red flowered Hawthorn grown in gardens is derived from Midland Thorn.

Propagation and growth: Grown from seed - two or three seeds per fruit.

The leaves are 15-50 mm long, oval in outline, but are broadest nearer the tip. They have about 3 shallow lobes not reaching halfway to the mid-rib. They are almost completely hairless, except for a few scattered on the main veins when the leaves are young.

ID check

Midland hawthorn is a thorny, much-branched shrub or small tree up to 10 m in height, which is native in woods and old hedges but much less common than hawthorn and rarely planted.

The stem is grey (unlike Blackthorn), but the youngest twigs can be red.

The 5-petalled white flowers are arranged in clusters of rarely more than 6 in each on stalks up to 2.5 cm long.

Each flower has two styles which persist in fruit.

The deep red fruits are 8-10 mm across with two stones inside.


Midland hawthorn starts to flower in April, about 2-3 weeks earlier than ordinary hawthorn.

The flowers have a nauseating smell of rotting flesh, the odour of ordinary hawthorn is much sweeter.

Hybrids between this and ordinary hawthorn are often found in woods and hedges, where the two species grow side by side.

Measuring variation in the shape of hawthorn leaves between edge and middle of ancient woods is a good project.


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