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Dieren en planten

Water en land

Mens en Milieu



tree: 10 meters
shrub: 4.5 meters
flower: 1 centimeter
fruit: 1 centimeter


flowers: creamy white, sometimes pink
fruit: red


mid-May - early June


insects, specifically midges


Europe, Mediterranean region, western Asia

  • Dut: Eenstijlige Meidoorn
  • Lat: Crataegus monogyna
  • Eng: Hawthorn
  • Fren: Aubepine
  • Ger: Weissdorn
Hawthorn blossom, foto fitis, sytske dijksen


Huge snowballs, that's what hawthorns can look like when they blossom in the spring. Hawthorns are resistant to sea winds and therefore were often chosen for planting in the dunes. The clusters of white flowers can be so massive, that they hide the rest of the shrub. Rose bushes have rosehips, hawthorns have haws! That's what their berries are officially called. The haws are highly desired by thrush and blackbirds, as well as by certain winter guests such as fieldfares and redwings. Hawthorns can reach the grand old age of 500. The wood is hard and sturdy, very suitable for wood carvings.

  • Wind-blown tree
    Wind-shaped hawthorn, foto fitis, sytske dijksen

    Due to the dominant southwesterly wind in the Netherlands, hawthorns in the dunes can take on unusual shapes. Their crowns are bent in an northeasterly direction. In foggy weather, you can even use these bushes as a compass!

  • Impenetrable
    Hawthorn hedge, foto fitis, sytske dijksen

    Hawthorns are planted a lot because they form impenetrable hedges around pastures. Certainly with their nasty spines, you aren't likely to cut through such a hedge. They can be found just about throughout the Netherlands, especially in river valleys, in the delta region and in calcium-rich dunes.

  • Fire blight
    Hawthorn berries, foto fitis, sytske dijksen

    Almost all hawthorn hedges have been removed in many fruit regions. The shrub is responsible for spreading 'fire blight', a deadly disease for apple and pear trees. The bacteria Erwinia amylovora is the cause of this disease. In order to lower the risk as much as possible, many more hawthorns were cleared away than was necessary to fight the 'fire'. Whole landscapes with their ancient character were lost and innumerable nesting birds had to look for other places to nest.