Crataegus monogyna


In May, our hedgerows burst into life as Common Hawthorn erupts with masses of creamy-white blossom, colouring the landscape and giving this thorny shrub its other name of 'May-tree'. During the autumn and winter, red fruits known as 'haws' appear. Common Hawthorn is a rich habitat for all kinds of wildlife from Hawthorn Shield Bugs and Yellowhammers that feed on the haws, to Wood Mice and Slow Worms that shelter in the thorny thickets.

How to identify

Common Hawthorn has shiny leaves, divided into three to seven pairs of lobes, and five-petalled, sweet-smelling flowers. It can be distinguished from the similar Midland Hawthorn by its more deeply lobed leaves and the fact that it only has a single seed in each fruit.

Where to find it



When to find it

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

How can people help

Our hedgerows support all kinds of wildlife, providing vital food and shelter. But these habitats are disappearing with the intensification of agriculture. The Wildlife Trusts are working closely with farmers, landowners and developers to promote wildlife-friendly practices, such as planting hedges and leaving field margins. We have a vision of a 'Living Landscape': a network of habitats and wildlife corridors across town and country, which are good for both wildlife and people. You can support this greener vision for the future by joining your local Wildlife Trust.

Local information

The Upper Ray Meadows nature reserve has almost 20km of dense hedgerow, of mainly blackthorn, hawthorn and field maple, interspersed with hazel, elm and crab apple. They provide nest sites for finches, buntings and warblers and also act as wildlife corridors. The hedgerows also support small colonies of both black and brown hairstreak butterflies. Upper Ray Meadows is part of the Upper River Ray Living Landscape area which is a large-scale scheme to manage and connect wildlife-friendly sites together. Meadow Farm is also situated within this scheme, the hedgerows here are home to species including yellowhammer and whitethroat. Hawthorn is good to plant in garden hedges too, attracting more wildlife into your own garden.

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Species information

Common name
Latin name
Crataegus monogyna
Trees and shrubs
Height: up to 15m
Conservation status