The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Hawthorn

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
For works with similar titles, see Hawthorn.

HAWTHORN, or WHITE THORN (Cratægus oxyacantha), a small spiny European tree, rising sometimes to the height of 20 to 25 feet, much admired for the beauty of its foliage. The leaves are smooth, shining, more or less deeply lobed, and of a beautiful green color; the flowers are white, sometimes with a reddish tinge disposed in corymbs, and possess an agreeable perfume. The species of Cratægus are all shrubs or small trees, spiny, with red fruit resembling in miniature that of the apple, from which plant they are distinguished chiefly by their seeds, and are arranged with it in the family Malaceæ. In the last 25 years more than a thousand species have been described from North America, but the number of valid species is undoubtedly much lower. When young the hawthorn springs up rapidly, a shoot of a single year being sufficient for a walking-stick. It thus, if well pruned and kept down, quickly grows into a thick and intricately woven hedge.