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Crataegus punctata - dotted haw


Dotted haw was grown in Finland during the period of autonomy under the Russian Czars (i.e. up to Independence in 1917), but has since been forgotten and has almost completely disappeared. Seed was collected by the Mustila expedition of 1996 from northern parts of New York State, striking the eye of the collectors with its unusual light green obovate foliage, which made it stand out in the landscape. This colour is most striking in spring when the new foliage flushes emerald green on the ash-grey thorny branches.

Of course, the shrub is also beautiful when it flowers in early summer, the flowers rather large for a hawthorn. The berries which develop in autumn are red or yellow with unusual spotting, which is reflected in both the scientific and English common names. Like many other excellent hawthorns, this species grows with age into a small but picturesque broad tree if it is allowed to grow in peace, without trimming.


Crataegus pinnatifida - Chinese haw


The extensive hawthorn (Crataegus) genus includes an estimated 140 species spread throughout North America and Eurasia. These include more species suitable to Finnish conditions besides the hedge hawthorn (C. grayana) used so commonly throughout the country. Chinese haw is a small broad-crowned tree with shiny lobed leaves. It bears white flowers in spring, red berries and beautiful leaf colour in autumn, but is very rare in cultivation despite its attractiveness.

In China the red berries, tangy to taste and containing much vitamin-C, are used to make sweets, food, and wine as well as traditional medicines. In particular, the larger-berried form C. pinnatifida var. major, with berries the size of gooseberries, is widely cultivated. Chinese haw is also widely used as root stock when grafting dwarf forms of its close relations, the pears (Pyrus) and the quince (Cydonia)

Used to a steady continental climate, Chinese haw begins its growth in spring as soon as the weather warms, so where to plant it demands some consideration. The Mustila trees are from North Korea and have grown well under a protective canopy near the Arboretum’s Kahvila (Coffee House) and on Atsalearinne (Azalea slope), but badly on the sunny slope of Ketunmäki (Fox Hill).


Crataegus monogyna - English hawthorn, May


The natural range of the English hawthorn in Europe extends to the northern edge of the Baltic basin, i.e. the Finnish archipelago and nearby coastal areas. Its preferred habitats are deciduous groves, meadows, and the edges of forests and fields. In Britain it is also widely used in the hedgerows which traditionally surround fields. It is rarely grown in Finland and there is probably no native stock available.

The leaves are small and slender and densely cover the branches, which grow in attractive layers. This normally beautiful shrub or small tree is at its very best in June, when it is covered in white blossom. In autumn it enlivens the countryside with its bright red berries.

The English hawthorn can be difficult to differentiate from the other native hawthorn, Crataegus rhipidophylla, which is also very rare in the wild in Finland; the former is classed as endangered, the latter as threatened.


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