Unusual & Old Fashioned Fruit Trees



 Hawthorn - Crataegus

To the majority of people, Hawthorn trees are simply prickly bushes that are used for hedging throughout the country and as hedges they surround nearly every field all over the U.K. They are best known as being a herald of Spring and the new growing season, because Hawthorn hedges burst into a mass of white flowers as the weather warms giving rise to the old saying “Ne’er Cast A Clout ‘Till May Is Out.” This refers to the common name of “May,” for Hawthorn and the turning of “Clods,” of soil corrupted to the word “Clout.” A few people realise that they will make an attractive, small, flowering tree about 20-30 feet tall, with the “Red May,” being particularly attractive, but hardly anybody is aware that most varieties have edible berries. Edible berries that the wildlife love - yes, but the fact that are also edible for humans is not widely known. Admittedly, the common English variety has berries that are tough, all seed and have little flesh in their body, but there are many North American types that have larger fruits, as well as a Chinese variety called Big Golden Star that has been bred specially for fruit production. This tree bears masses of dark red fruits up to 1” across, which are usually eaten cooked and have an apple-like flavour.

A Hawthorn tree as a fruit tree is quite a good idea for smallish gardens, because they will grow in any reasonable soil, in sun, or part shade and are all very hardy. In fact the Hawthorn is such a tough little tree that it is often used for reforestation on sandy soils.

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