Join me as we unravel the wonders of hawthorn berry foraging.
In this blog, you will find
Identification tips for hawthorn berries
An easy tea recepe
Free PDF guide
Hawthorn Berry identification:
Identifying Hawthorn trees is relatively straightforward. Here are key features to look for: Small, lobed leafs, white flowers in spring, red berries in autumn, thorns and buds.
Common Names: Hawthorn, Quickthorn, Thornapple, Mayflower or Hawberry
Scientific Name: Crataegus monogyna
Plant Family: Rosaceae or Rose Family
Keep an eye out for these windswept trees scattered throughout the countryside. Hawthorn trees are often found in hedgerows, reaching heights of up to 15 meters and boasting a lifespan of up to 700 years. Smaller versions can also be spotted in woodlands or open country. Decorated with delicate white flowers in spring and vibrant red berries in autumn, they add a touch of seasonal beauty to their surroundings.
Small, lobed leaves resembling those of an oak, with lobes cut at least halfway to the midrib.
Thorns and Buds
Thorny branches with buds; notably, the thorn itself does not have buds, distinguishing it from the Blackthorn.
Haws or Hawthorn berries
The small, red berry is round to oval with a stone in the middle.
Keep an eye out for the tiny 5-pointed star at the base of the fruit, a unique identifier for Hawthorns.
In May, Hawthorn trees display early white flowers, each featuring five petals and an abundance of stamens.
The berries are rich in pectin, a natural thickener, perfect for making jellies, wines, infused liqueurs, sauces, and even ketchup. In spring, the leaves, known as 'bread and butter,' are edible, adding a unique culinary element to salads. Similarly, the flowers, also edible, can be used to make tea.
In traditional medicine, hawthorn berries have been esteemed for their potential health benefits, known to contain antioxidants, flavonoids, and other compounds with potential positive effects on cardiovascular health. Hawthorn supplements are occasionally used to support heart function, enhance blood circulation, and regulate blood pressure. Furthermore, hawthorn has been linked to mild sedative properties and digestive benefits.
While hawthorn is generally considered safe when used appropriately, caution is important. Overdosing on hawthorn can lead to complications, including cardiac arrhythmia and low blood pressure. It's important to note that individuals taking digoxin or other heart medication should avoid hawthorn.
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