Scientific name: Crataegus oxyacantha L.
English: European hawthorn
Serbian: Crveni glog, višesemeni glog,
Hungarian: Hosszúcsészés galagonya, rózsaképű galagonya
German: Stumpfgelappter Weissdorn
Etymology: Crataegus (gr. κράταιγος) = firm, hard, strong, the name remains after Theophrastus, refers to hardwood
Habitat: Deciduous shrub of medium size, or lower tree up to 12 m tall. The branches are with thorns. It has a well-developed surface root system.
Distribution: Sub-Central European floral element
Biology / Ecology of the species: Monoecious, entomophilous, hygromesophilic species. It has a wide ecological amplitude, but slightly fresher soils suit it well.
Ecological significance: Hawthorn attracts more than 300 species of insects. It is important for the nutrition of moth caterpillars. The flowers are eaten by dormouse, and the flowers also provide nectar and pollen for bees and other pollinating insects. The fruits are rich in antioxidants and are eaten by migratory birds and small mammals. Thorny bushes and dense leaves make a fantastic nesting shelter for many species of birds.
Uses: Hawthorn wood is very hard. It is used for turning and engraving and for making veneers and cabinets, boxes and parts for boats. Young leaves, flower buds and young flowers are edible. Flower buds in their development phase are especially good. The berries are edible but can cause mild stomach upsets. They are most often used to make jellies, wine and ketchup.
It is a medicinal species; the flowers are used to make tea.
Mythology and symbolism: Hawthorn was a pagan symbol of fertility. It was believed that bringing hawthorn flowers into the interior would be accompanied by illness and death. Botanists later learned that the chemical trimethylamine in hawthorn flowers is also one of the first chemicals produced in decaying animal tissue, so it is not surprising that hawthorn flowers are associated with death. Its flowering marked the point at which spring turns into summer.
Note: It can grow spontaneously in Vojvodina in the zones between plough fields (hedges). It is a honey plant. It has a cultural significance since it was a very important ‘protective’ species in folk beliefs. This species is suitable for buffer zones and to be planted in mixed groups.