How to identify a hawthorn tree

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how to identify a hawthorn tree

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How do you identify a hawthorn tree?

Wondering if you are looking at a hawthorn tree? Your clues are their leaves, buds, flowers and fruit. Here’s what they look like at-a-glance:

hawthorn leaf
hawthorn buds
spring flowers - identifying flowering trees, hawthorn, flowers field guides
hawthorn berries

Hawthorn tree facts

Hello! In today’s guide we are going to learn how to identify a hawthorn tree. Are you ready? Let’s get started! Here are a few hawthorn facts:

  • Common name: Hawthorn
  • Latin name: Crataegus spp
  • Family: Rosaceae

Hawthorn trees can grow up to 15 meters tall, live for up to 700 years and can be found growing in woodlands and hedgerows.

hawthorn leaf

Hawthorn leaves

Hawthorn leaves are small, toothed and have deep lobes.

hawthorn buds

Hawthorn buds

Their buds are non-descript, small, brown and rounded with prominent scales.

spring flowers - identifying flowering trees, hawthorn, flowers field guides

Hawthorn flowers

The flowers are scented, white in colour, have 5 petals and grow in clusters.

hawthorn berries

Hawthorn berries

The berries are round or slightly egg-shaped, small, deep red and grow in clusters.

Trees that look similar to hawthorn

hawthorn leaf

Hawthorn leaf

oak leaf

Oak leaf


Oak leaves look similar to hawthorn, but are larger and more leathery.

hawthorn berries

Hawthorn berries


Whitebeam berries


Whitebeam berries look aimilar to hawthorn, but  are longer and more orangey-red in colour. The leaves can also look similar but are thicker, bigger and not so deeply lobed.

Hawthorn tree uses

  • Medicinal – Hawthorn has traditionally been used as a physical and emotional heart tonic.
  • Bushcraft – Both the leaves, flowers and berries can be eaten.
  • Wildlife – Hawthorn trees support a wide variety of insects, animals, birds and lichen.
  • Dyes – Hawthorn berries produce a lovely soft, light brown dye.

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