Crataegus is native to the temperate Northern Hemisphere. The number of species in the genus depends on taxonomic interpretation, with numerous apomictic microspecies; some botanists recognise a thousand or more species, while others reduce the number to 200 or fewer.
Hawthorns provide food and shelter for many species of birds and mammals, and the flowers are important for many nectar-feeding insects. Hawthorns are also used as food plants by the larvae of a large number of Lepidoptera species - see list of Lepidoptera which feed on Hawthorns.
In Celtic lore, the hawthorn plant was used commonly for rune inscriptions along with Yew and Apple. It was once said to heal the broken heart.
Many species and hybrids are used as ornamental and street trees. The Common Hawthorn is extensively used in Europe as a hedge plant. Several cultivars of the Midland Hawthorn C. laevigata have been selected for their pink or red flowers. Hawthorns are among the trees most recommended for
Hawthorn is also used as a herb to lower blood pressure, and treat some heart related diseases
The fruits of the species Crataegus pinnatifida, which are bright red and resemble small crabapple fruits, are used to make many kinds of Chinese snacks, including haw flakes and tánghúlú (糖葫芦, literally "sugar gourd", consisting of candied hawthorn fruits on bamboo skewers). This latter food is popular with children in northern China, where it is a traditional winter snack . The fruits are also used to produce jams, jellies, juices, alcoholic beverages, and other drinks .
The dried fruits of Crataegus pinnatifida (called 山楂 or shān zhā in Chinese) are used in traditional Chinese medicine, primarily as a digestive aid. Other species (especially Crataegus laevigata) are used in Western herbal medicine, where the plant is believed to strengthen cardiovascular function .
Other useful herb information: Stevia | Licorice | California Poppy | Curcuma | Spikenard | Hydrangea | Black Cohosh
Page Content: crataegus oxyacantha , crataegus laevigata , crataegus phaenopyrum , crataegus hawthorn , crataegus pinnatifida , crataegus monogyna , crataegus aestivalis , crataegus monogyna praecox .
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