Dogs And Hawthorn Berries – Hawthornberry harvest is a new one for me this year. They are sweet and mild if you get them at just the right time, and the last few years I tasted them too early in the fall. This year, Washington hawthorn was sweet and mild in late October. But at that time the one-seeded hawthorn started to rot, so next year I’ll look for them in mid-October.
I owe it to Josh Fecteau’s recent hawthorn post, which inspired me to try hawthorn berries again. As Josh points out, there are many hawthorn species, perhaps 50 in New England. And, in all of North America, possibly a thousand species, according to George Symonds (from his wonderful book Tree Identification Book: A New Method for the Practical Identification and Recognition of Trees
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, my favorite guide for learning tree IDs). Fortunately, you don’t need to be able to identify particular species. You just need to know it’s a hawthorn, because all hawthorns have edible berries. BUT, like apple seeds, hawthorn seeds contain cyanide and should not be eaten. Don’t panic; just spit out the seeds.
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Why bother hawthorn? 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 a tea. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to see how I make hawthorn berry extract.
I will describe two species here, to exemplify the general characteristics. It should help you recognize a hawthorn when you see one, but I
If you are unsure that you have a hawthorn when foraging, check with additional sources until you ARE sure, before eating the berries.
It 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. On October 31, they were sweet and maybe a little over the top. Each berry has 3-5 seeds.
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The leaves are lobed and toothed, as you can see in my photo above. Many other hawthorn species have similar leaves. The tree is heavily armed with long thorns, up to about 3 inches in length. However, with reasonable care, you can easily harvest the berries, which tend to hang off the branch. It’s even easier later in the season after many of the leaves have fallen and are no longer obscuring the thorns.
Also called common hawthorn, this is a European native that has escaped cultivation and naturalized in North America. It is sometimes labeled an invasive plant, but I don’t find it very often, and when I do see it, there isn’t much of it in an area. Maybe it’s invasive in other parts of the country, but it doesn’t seem to be very aggressive here. Like Washington hawthorn, 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 Washington hawthorn) in the fall and contain a single seed (hence the name). The toothed leaves are more deeply lobed than those of Washington hawthorn, but the spines are much smaller, only about 1/2 inch to one inch long.
Hawthorns are common in the woods here in Massachusetts, but they are scrawny specimens that don’t bear good fruit. It’s too dark in the forest. To find fruit-laden hawthorns, look in sunny places, such as bushy fields and thickets, at pasture edges and along streams. They are often planted as ornamentals, so if your friend has one and doesn’t mind you picking a few berries, you have an easy foraging experience 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 them with 80 proof vodka and covered the jar. I’m not sure how long it will take to extract enough flavor from the berries, so I will check daily. I know other extracts (like vanilla extract) take weeks, so that’s what I’d expect here. Indoor gardening is a great way to relieve some stress, and when you do it for your favorite pet, it feels even better knowing your pet is safe.
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However, there are many plants out there that can be highly toxic to your pet if they end up consuming them.
Dogs are one of the most curious pets around, and they are more likely to end up chewing on your plants.
So when you choose to garden indoors, you should try to get plants that are harmless to pets, and the good thing is that there are several safe indoor plants that you can choose from.
If you want a tropical look at home, then the banana plant is the best choice, and they are a good alternative to elephant ears.
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Banana plants have lush green leaves that are huge and non-toxic. This amazing plant has about fifty species and is known to be native to:
Dwarf banana plants are great as indoor plants, but you can even grow them outdoors as there are taller varieties available.
As the name suggests, Boston Fern is a plant under the fern category. This means this plant looks great indoors when hung in baskets.
Haworthia is a fantastic succulent plant. They have a similar appearance to aloe vera plants but are not toxic to your pets if they end up consuming them.
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Haworthia has a stunning zebra design on its leaf that can add an aesthetic look to your indoor garden.
Bromeliads are a group of plants that thrive in high humidity. They love the sun and can even survive indoors.
Bromeliads have bright leaves that look stunning in any home. This plant doesn’t flower easily, but you can get the bromeliads to bloom again.
However, once a bromeliad grows flowers, it is a sign that it will soon die. You cannot save your plant from this process as this is the life cycle of the bromeliad.
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Spider Plant is another plant that you want especially if you have dogs in your home
They are known to survive attacks from the most notorious plant killers, and they look amazing when hung in a basket.
It is always best to grow them indoors as they need to live in a controlled environment. However, you can easily propagate orchids from stem cuttings.
Calathea is another low-maintenance plant that is safe to keep in homes with pets. Its leaves are the most amazing part because of the beautiful patterns on them.
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So if you want your own collection of Calathea plants, check out these 12 amazing Calathea varieties that you can grow indoors.
African violet is a low-maintenance plant known for its small flowers that have the following shades:
They are one of the perfect plants to keep indoors. Its binomial nomenclature and basic plant care requirements include:
This plant is an herb often used in cooking and is as common as rosemary or oregano. But unlike rosemary and oregano, thyme won’t make your pets sick.
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Despite the long vines that the lipstick plant has, they are perfectly safe for your dogs to munch on (in case)
Sage is another herb that is often used in food. It is also safe for pets to consume.
Spotted plant, like other houseplants with red leaves, is a unique, unique plant that has dark leaves with some light pink spots on them.
It is also a hardy plant and can handle strong sunlight that may be too strong for your other indoor plants.
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Friendship plant, aka Moon Valley Pilea, is an adorable indoor plant that has wrinkled leaves with an ombre color.
The colors of the leaves fade from dark reddish brown to light green. It is also a low maintenance plant and is quite durable.
Basil is another garden herb that is often used in cooking. Not only is it pet-friendly, it can also make your pasta and pizzas taste amazing.
Wax plant, more commonly known as a Hoya plant, is a beautiful plant that has thick green leaves and small flowers that look like wax.
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Venus flytrap is a scary plant; But apart from harming small insects as they are carnivorous in nature, it cannot harm your pets.
The Hawthorn Berry is a fantastic tree that can be grown as a dwarf tree, or if planted outdoors, it can grow into a larger tree.
Once it begins to flower, it will grow white flowers which in turn turn into red berries. These berries are even beneficial for dogs as they are used as supplements for them.
Crepe Myrtle is not a large plant, but you can prune them to give them a similar appearance to shrubs and trees.
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Lace Flower Vine is a bright plant that looks best when hung in baskets. This plant is also considered low-maintenance, with long, dangling