Crataegus spp. – Hawthorn

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Hawthorn (Crataegus spp.) is a group of over 1,000 species of edible plants in the rosaceae family.
Hawthorn is the oldest known medicinal herb, with use dating back to the first century BC. It could be a small shrub or tree.
Hawthorn has serrated, oval-shaped leaves which often have lobes. The branches have sharp thorns which are up to three inches long. The plant produces white to light pink flowers in late spring. The haws, or fruits, ripen from early to late fall.
Hawthorn leaves, flowers, and fruits are edible. The seeds are toxic. Leaves and flowers can be added raw to salads. Fruit can be eaten raw or turned into jam, pie filling, or a ketchup substitute. The fruit has a tart apple-like taste.
Hawthorn has been used to treat heart conditions, digestive complaints, anxiety, and skin diseases.

Written by Amy Demers, founder of the Connecticut Foraging Club. To learn more about foraging in Connecticut, check out our upcoming classes.

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