Black Hawthorn Berries Edible – , or Douglass Hawthorn, is a large shrub or small tree, about 25 feet high, with long, straight thorns, dense clusters of white flowers, and edible fruit in fall. It is native to wetlands, open moist places, meadows and along streams in the Pacific Northwest.
Easy to grow, the Douglass Hawthorn prefers well-draining loam but is not fussy. It does well in moist soils, tolerates drought and heavy clay soils. For best fruit production, place the tree in full sun. The plant will grow in partial shade, although the fruit yield will be lower. When grown from seed, they take 5 to 8 years to bear fruit. The flowers have a smell somewhat like rotting fish, which attracts mosquitoes, the main means of fertilization. With freshly opened flowers, the flowers have a more pleasant scent. Over time, the plant will sag and form a thicket; if necessary, you can control the plant in late winter by pruning.
Black Hawthorn Berries Edible
Susceptible to cedar-hawthorn rust, cedar-quince rust, blight, fungal leaf spot, powdery mildew, cankers and apple scab are occasional problems. Insect pests include borers, caterpillars, lace bugs, leafminers and scale.
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#wildlife plant#pollinator plant#larval host plant#late spring nectar plant#butterfly friendly#mid spring nectar plant#nontoxic to horses#nontoxic to dogs#nontoxic to cats#red-spotted purple butterfly#grey hairstreak butterfly#viceroy butterfliesHawthorn berry harvesting is new to me this year. They’re sweet and mild if you get them at the right time, and in recent years I’ve tasted them too early in the fall. This year, Washington hawthorn was sweet and mild in late October. But by then the single-seed hawthorn had started to rot, so next year I’ll look for it in mid-October.
I owe some credit to Josh Fecteau’s recent hawthorn post, which inspired me to try hawthorn berries again. As Josh points out, there are many varieties of hawthorn, perhaps as many as 50 in New England. And possibly a thousand species across North America, according to George Symonds (from his wonderful Tree Identification Book: A New Method for the Practical Identification and Recognition of Trees).
, my favorite guide to learning tree ID). Fortunately, you don’t need to be able to identify certain species. You just have to know that it is a hawthorn, because all hawthorns have edible berries. HOWEVER, like apple seeds, hawthorn seeds contain cyanide and should not be eaten. Do not panic; just spit out the seeds.
Why bother with hawthorns? They are beautiful, interesting and tasty wild edibles with known health benefits. Some people use the berries to make hawthorn jelly, but I have yet to try this. Berries, leaves and flowers can be used to make tea. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to see how I make hawthorn berry extract.
Hawthorn (shan Zha)
I am going to describe two types here, to illustrate the general characteristics. That should help you spot a hawthorn when you see one, but i
If you are not sure if you have a hawthorn while foraging, consult additional resources until you are sure before eating the berries.
This grows as a small tree or large shrub and bears clusters of white flowers in late spring. The berries turn red in September (here), but sweeten later. By October 31, they were sweet and maybe slightly past the peak. Each berry has 3-5 seeds.
The leaves are lobed and toothed, as you can see in my photo above. Many other hawthorn varieties have similar leaves. The tree is heavily armed with long thorns, up to about 3 inches tall. However, with reasonable care, you can easily harvest the berries, which tend to hang from the branches. It’s even easier later in the season after many of the leaves have fallen and the thorns are no longer obscuring.
Hawthorn Facts And Health Benefits
Also called common hawthorn, this is a European native that escaped cultivation and naturalized in North America. It is sometimes labeled an invasive plant, but I don’t find it often, and when I see it, there isn’t much of it in one area. It may be invasive in other parts of the country, but it doesn’t seem to be particularly aggressive here. Like the Washington hawthorn, a single-seeded hawthorn grows as a shrub or small tree, bearing clusters of white flowers in late spring. The oval red berries ripen slightly earlier (than the Washington hawthorn) in the fall and contain a single seed (hence the name). The toothed leaves are more deeply lobed than those of the Washington hawthorn, but the thorns are much smaller, only about 1/2 inch to an inch long.
Hawthorns are common in the forest understory here in Massachusetts, but those are skinny ones that don’t bear fruit well. It’s too shady in the woods. To find fruit-laden hawthorns, look in sunny spots, such as shrubby fields and scrub, on pasture edges and along streams. They are often planted as an ornamental, so if your friend has one and doesn’t mind picking some berries, you have an easy foraging experience right at your fingertips.
This is my first experience using hawthorn berries, and I use them to make an extract, using the same process you would use to make vanilla extract. I hope to use hawthorn extract as a flavoring in cooking and baking. I filled a clean canning jar about 3/4 full with berries, covered it with 80 proof vodka, and sealed the jar. I’m not sure how long it takes to get enough flavor out of the berries, so I’ll check daily. I know that other extracts (like vanilla extract) take weeks, so that’s what I expect here. Information may be out of date The information on this page was originally released on February 25, 2019. It may not be out of date, but please search our site for more up-to-date information. If you intend to cite or reference this information in a publication, please contact the specialist or author before proceeding.
Joining the gardening world, I’m waiting for the Southern Indica azaleas to officially kick off the spring season with their showy show of beautiful color. But there’s one landscape shrub that tends to get lost when the azaleas start showing off, and it’s actually one of my spring-blooming favorites.
Low Maintenance Shrubs
Some gardeners think Indian hawthorn is a ho-hum, no-pizzazz shrub. But this plant is so much more than some of the prima donna shrubs that turn heads every spring. An accurate way to describe these shrubs is to say that they work hard and don’t complain much about how they are handled. They are so pedestrian, so blue collar.
But if you really look for it, you’ll find that Indian hawthorns are found in almost every landscape in southern Mississippi as foundation anchor shrubs. That’s because they are reliable and every gardener wants reliability in their landscape. The Indian hawthorn is the perfect evergreen shrub to plant in your home landscape in hardiness zones 7a through 10.
Star-shaped flowers, ranging from snow white to pale pastel pink, appear in spring in clusters held loosely at the ends of branches. On calm spring days, you can inhale a whiff of their delicate floral scent as you stroll along a flowering hedge. The pistil and stamens are reddish, matching the color of the newly unfolding leaf. This feature adds extra interest and contrast to the flower color.
Indian hawthorn is not just a hard-working spring shrub. It also gets the job done in the summer and fall.
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Thick and leathery evergreen foliage provides a fantastic backdrop for warm season annual color. The top of the foliage is a glossy dark green in summer and can turn purplish blue-green when exposed to winter temperatures. The leaf margins have soft, serrated edges that are highly variable.
Gardeners can take some of the blame, as we like to plant Indian hawthorn en masse. Preventive sprays with fungicides containing chlorothalonil or propiconazole can help in the spring and fall. The pathogen survives in leaf litter, so it’s a good idea to clean up the fallen leaves around the plants to help prevent the spread of this disease.
In the fall, Indian hawthorns produce fruit with an attractive blue to black color. They ripen in late summer and fall and last all winter.
Plant the Indian hawthorn in full sun to partial shade. It prefers a consistently moist but well-drained landscape bed. To ensure adequate drainage, plant the crown 1 or 2 inches above soil level for best landscape performance. Indian hawthorn tolerates pruning particularly well, making it easy to keep it less than 3 feet tall in the landscape.
Branch Of Hawthorn With Ripe Red Berries Hanging From It Vector Illustration Stock Vector
So, if your landscape needs a boost of spring-blooming shrubs, consider Indian hawthorn selections when shopping at the local garden center. Written by Ariane Lang, BSc, MBA and SaVanna Shoemaker, MS, RDN, LD – Medically reviewed by Kathy W. Warwick, R.D., CDE, Nutrition – Updated December 13, 2021
These nutrient-rich berries have a tart, tangy flavor and a mild sweetness. They range in color from yellow to dark red (
For hundreds of years, people have used hawthorn berry as an herbal remedy for digestive problems, cardiovascular disease