Hawthorn Berries Where Do They Grow Georgia – Hawthorn berry harvest is new for me this year. They’re sweet and mild if you get them at the right time, and I’ve tasted them prematurely in the fall for the past few years. This year, Washington Hawthorn is sweet and mild in late October. But by that time, the single hawthorns have already started to rot, so next year I’ll be looking for those in mid-October.
I owe it to Josh Fecteau for his recent hawthorn post, which inspired me to try hawthorn berries again. As Josh pointed out, there are many varieties of hawthorn, maybe 50 in New England. And, according to George Symonds, throughout North America, there may be a thousand species (taken from his wonderful book Tree Identification: A Practical Approach to Tree Identification and Identification)
Hawthorn Berries Where Do They Grow Georgia
, my favorite learning tree ID guide). Fortunately, you don’t need to be able to identify a specific species. You just need to know it’s hawthorn, because all hawthorns have edible berries. However, like apple seeds, hawthorn seeds contain cyanide and should not be eaten. Don’t panic; just spit out the seeds.
Indian Hawthorn In The North Texas Landscape
Why bother with Hawthorn? They are beautiful, fun, delicious wild foods with health benefits. Some people make hawthorn jelly with berries, but I haven’t tried it yet. Berries, leaves and flowers can be used to make tea. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to see how I made hawthorn berry extract.
I will describe both species here to illustrate general characteristics. This should help you recognize hawthorn when you see it, but I
If you’re unsure if you have hawthorn while foraging, check other sources before eating hawthorn until you’re sure.
It grows as a small tree or large shrub, bearing clusters of white flowers in late spring. The berries turn red in September (here), but then sweeten. By October 31st, they are sweet and probably skip the peak. Each berry has 3-5 seeds.
Arnold Hawthorn Gt/2 3′
As you can see in my photo above, the leaves are lobed and toothed. Many other hawthorn varieties have similar leaves. The tree is covered with long thorns, about 3 inches long. However, as long as you exercise caution, you can easily harvest the berries, which tend to droop from the branches. It’s easier later in the season after many leaves have fallen and the thorns are no longer covered.
Also known as common hawthorn, this is a European native that has escaped cultivation and naturalized in North America. It’s sometimes called an invasive plant, but I don’t find it very often, and when I see it, there aren’t many in an area. Maybe it’s invasive in other parts of the country, but it doesn’t seem particularly invasive here. Like Washington hawthorn, single-seeded hawthorn grows as a shrub or small tree and produces clusters of white flowers in late spring. The oval red berries ripen in the fall (a little earlier than Washington hawthorn) and contain a single seed (hence the name). The toothed leaves are deeper than those of Washington hawthorn, but the spines are much smaller, only about 1/2 inch to 1 inch long.
Hawthorn is common in the forest undergrowth of Massachusetts, but these are scrawny specimens with poor results. It’s too dark in the forest. To find fruit-bearing hawthorn, look in sunny locations such as bushes and undergrowth, pasture edges, and streams. They’re often grown as ornamentals, so if your friend has one and doesn’t mind you picking some berries, you’ll have a foraging experience at your fingertips.
This is my first time using hawthorn berries and I’m making an extract from them, the same process I use to make vanilla extract. I wish to use hawthorn extract as a seasoning in cooking and baking. I filled a clean canning jar about 3/4 full with the berries, covered them with 80 degree vodka, and closed the jar. I’m not sure how long it will take to get enough flavor out of the berries, so I’ll check daily. I know other extracts (like vanilla extract) take weeks, so that’s what I’m looking for here. Now that the bees have pollinated my blueberries, I can see small berries forming. I love eating fresh blueberries in June and July and I love reminding people that they are native to Georgia. Sure, the grown plants we buy have grown to produce bigger fruits, but their ancestors grew up in the South, and their wild cousins still live in the woods around us.
Mayhaws –wild Legacy Of The South — Just Fruits And Exotics
These days, more and more people are interested in growing their own food, so I thought I’d mention some native plants that have edible fruit. Now I’m sure some people will say there is more food than I listed. People can eat all kinds of things! These are the more common plants considered “edible.” I’ve personally eaten the fruit of the May apple (Podophyllum peltatum) – it’s delicious – but I don’t think it’s a plant that people grow as food.
Native shrubs that produce sufficient fruit include blueberries (Vaccinium), bilberries (Gaylussacia), elderberries (Sambucus), black raspberries (Rubus occidentalis), and blackberries (Rubus allegheniensis). Of all these, blueberries are undoubtedly the most common and can usually be found in most nurseries in the spring.
Blueberries benefit from cross-pollination of other blueberries, especially blueberries of different clones. So if you’re buying a variety, buy at least one different variety. You also want to buy plants that bloom at the same time so that cross-pollination works. Since most reputable nurseries know this, they usually stock different varieties in the early, mid and late season categories. For example, “Climax” and “Premier” are both early season varieties. UGA provides an excellent publication on growing blueberries at home. I’ve had great luck with the mid-season variety “Tifblue” and others (yes, the labels fell off those “others”, but they got the job done). In the northern part of the state, we grow “rabbiteye” blueberries; the UGA publication also talks about varieties further south.
Blueberries also turn a beautiful red in the fall, and as far as I know, it won’t be bothered by deer. They do like full sun (6 hours or more) and plenty of moisture, especially when the fruit is developing.
Mulled Elderberry Tea (1 Oz)
Lingonberries can be harder to find and aren’t grown much for home use. Looking very similar to low bush blueberries, they tend to be a colonial shrub (spread underground) but are very tolerant of dry soil. We recently discovered black bilberry (Gaylussacia baccata) in a developing location and were fascinated by the red florets and resin-embellished leaves. I look forward to tasting the fruit.
Elderberry (Sambucus nigra ssp. canadensis) has long been a favorite for pies, jams and wines, as well as medicinal extracts. This plant is big and messy – give it plenty of sun and space. Even better if your area is a little damp. I love to see it blooming on the low roadside, growing side by side with thorny bushes, huge flower heads supporting various pollinators. Each small flower in the inflorescence becomes a small purple berry.
Subshrubs of the genus Rubus provide us with black raspberries and blackberries. These also need some space and you must keep the old canes intact as only the second year’s canes (called floricanes) will bear fruit.
Fruiting trees include papaya (Asimina triloba), hawthorn (Crataegus aestivalis), service berry (Amelanchier spp.), persimmon (Diospyros virginiana), plum (Prunus americana or Prunus angustifolia), crabapple (Malus angustifolia), and mulberry (Morus) red).
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Papaya is a beautiful little tree with long tropical leaves, unusual sorrel flowers and more unusual fruit. It is a member of the Ansopaceae family “Annona chinensis”. Who knew there was a creamy apple family? I heard that the fruit is delicious. Like blueberries, flowers benefit from cross-pollination, so one is encouraged to have at least two. I have three and continue to hope that one day I will see fruit.
There are many species of hawthorn native to Georgia, but one in particular is grown and celebrated for its fruit – one known as “mayhaw,” Crataegus aestivalis. Festivals celebrating this fruit are spread across the Southeast. It is also a beautiful spring flowering tree. Below is a picture of hawthorn to give you a general idea of the hawthorn flower.
Serviceberry (Amelanchier spp.) is another tree that has long been appreciated for its fruit. Several species have grown throughout Georgia and are becoming more common in nurseries as people learn to appreciate them supporting birds. However, long before that, people collected these berries for pies and fresh food – they were delicious