Botanical name: Crataegus

Common in hedgerows, these shrubs and small trees are tough and hardy enough to thrive in a number of garden situations. With masses of pollen-rich spring flowers followed by autumn berries (haws), they provide food and shelter for a range of wildlife.


Usually tree-like once established, these shrubs have clusters of small, cup-shaped white or pinkish red flowers in late spring. Dull red, elongated berries follow in autumn.


Hawthorns will grow in most soil types, in sun or light shade. They are tolerant of exposed sites and urban pollution.


Hawthorns do not do well in permanently waterlogged soil and will not flower in deep shade.

Did you know?

The saying ‘Cast ne’er a clout [item of clothing] till may’s out’ refers to the likelihood of a late cold snap in spring, just before hawthorns come into flower.

Get involved

The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.