There are 200 different species of hawthorn in the world, and the fruits of all Crataegus spp. are edible. They range in flavor from palatable to tasty, although that’s also a factor of your hunger. (They make a great tea too.)
But hawthorn berries are tricky to process: how do you separate many seeds inside from the good stuff? At about 1:50 into the video, U.K. forager Ray Mears offers an ingenious solution.
Hawthorn is full of of flavonoids — antioxidants — and its great for the heart. Many people make tinctures of hawthorn berries to take for prolonged stretches as a cardiovascular tonic. It’s popular in Europe and China for lowering blood pressure.
Hawthorn is a big shrub or small tree that comes in lots of different forms. All have intense thorns on the branches, though some can appear hidden until you look closely. Click here for a link to a wonderful U.K. web site that has amazingly clear photos of leaves and thorns.The berries look a lot like rose hips.
If you’re wondering about tincturing hawthorn, here’s a recipe from Gregory Tilford’s book, “From Earth to Herbalist”: Crush fresh berries and use 60% alcohol solution, at one part hawthorn to two parts alcohol.
Then explore many more wild plants on the Search Plants! page.