Black Hawthorn


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British Columbia Outdoor Wilderness Guide


Hawthorn.Jpg

BLACK HAWTHORN
crataegus douglasii

  • The Black Hawthorn is also known as Douglas Hawthorn, Douglas Thorn, Douglas Thorn Apple, Western Thorn Apple, Western Black Haw
  • 'crataegus' is from the Greek word 'kratos' which means "strength" referring to the strength of this wood
  • 'douglasii' is after plant explorer David Douglas

UNIQUE FEATURES:

  • because of their multitude of thorns (1 to 2 cm long)the English used the hawthorn to make fences to enclose cattle; the word 'hawthorn' is from the Anglo-Saxon word 'haguthorn' meaning 'fence with thorns'
  • The Black Hawthorn provides good nesting and denning for birds and small mammals because of the impenetrable thickets and thorns

LOCATION:

  • The Black Hawthorn grows south of Ft. St. John
  • The Black Hawthorn appears from sea level to mid elevations
  • in meadowland thickets and along water courses
  • areas of abundant sunlight

SIZE:

  • The Black Hawthorn is a small tree or large shrub, often grows in a thicket
  • up to 8 metres tall

FRUIT:

  • small (1 cm) clusters of yellow, red or blackish "apples" or haw
  • very seedy but sweet and edible
  • when ripe, whither very quickly

FLOWERS:

  • appear in May and June
  • white, 5 petals
  • saucer-shaped
  • occur in flat-topped clusters
  • have an unpleasant odor

LEAVES:

  • oval, with 5 to 9 small lobes at the top
  • sharp, shallow teeth
  • 3 to 6 cm long
  • leathery, glossy deep green on the top side when mature
  • the thorns occur at the leaf exits

BARK:

  • reddish, brown
  • few shallow fissures

WOOD CHARACTERISTICS:

  • Black Hawthorn wood is strong

USES:

  • modern - hedges
  • traditional - wood: digging sticks, handles; thorns: pierce ears, lance boils and probe skin ulers, fish hooks; leaves, inner bark, new shoots: burned together and mixed the ashes with grease to make a black face paint


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Black Hawthorn