Crataegus laevigata

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Midland hawthorn
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Rosales
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Crataegus
Section: Crataegus sect. Crataegus
Series: Crataegus ser. Crataegus
C. laevigata
Binomial name
Crataegus laevigata

Crataegus laevigata, known as the Midland hawthorn,[2] English hawthorn,[2] woodland hawthorn,[2] or mayflower, is a species of hawthorn native to western and central Europe, from Great Britain (where it is typically found in ancient woodland and old hedgerows[3]) and Spain east to the Czech Republic and Hungary. It is also present in North Africa. The species name is sometimes spelt C. levigata,[4] but the original orthography is C. lævigata.[5][6]


It is a large shrub or small tree growing to 8 m (26 ft) or rarely to 12 m (39 ft) tall, with a dense crown. The leaves are 2–6 cm (0.79–2.4 in) long and 2–5 cm (0.79–2.0 in) broad, with two or three shallow, forward-pointing lobes on each side of the leaf. The hermaphrodite flowers are produced in corymbs of 6 to 12, each flower with five white or pale pink petals and two or sometimes three styles. The flowers are pollinated by insects. The fruit is a dark red pome 6–10 mm (0.2–0.4 in) diameter, slightly broader than long, containing two or three nutlets.

Crataegus laevigata (fruits)

It is distinguished from the closely related common hawthorn, C. monogyna, in the leaves being only shallowly lobed, with forward-pointing lobes, and in the flowers having more than one style. Each style produces a seed, so its fruits also have more than one seed and these make them slightly oval, in contrast with the single-seeded and therefore round fruits of common hawthorn. The two species hybridise, giving rise to C. × media.


In the past, Midland hawthorn was widely but incorrectly known by the name C. oxyacantha, a name that has now been rejected as being of uncertain application. In 1753, Linnaeus introduced the name C. oxyacantha for the single species of which he was aware, but described it in such a way that the name became used for various species, including both the Midland and the common hawthorn. In 1775, Jacquin formally separated the common hawthorn, naming it C. monogyna,[7] and in 1946, Dandy showed that Linnaeus had actually observed a different plant, C. oxyacantha. By this time, though, confusion over the true identity of C. oxyacantha was so great that Byatt proposed[8] that the name should be formally rejected as ambiguous, and this proposal was accepted by the International Botanical Congress,[9] although the name continues to be used informally.

The Midland hawthorn was described botanically as a separate species as long ago as 1798 by Poiret, whose name Mespilus laevigata referred to this hawthorn. Poiret's name is reflected in the revised formal botanical name of Midland hawthorn: Crataegus laevigata (Poir.) DC.


'François Rigaud' has yellow fruit.[10]

'Paul's Scarlet'[11] (double red flowers), 'Punicea'[12] (pink and white) and 'Rosea Flore Pleno'[13] (double pink flowers) have gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit. These cultivars are considered by taxonomists to be derived from hybrids between C. laevigata and C. monogyna, within the named hybrid species C. × media.[10]


The hawthorn button-top gall on Midland hawthorn is caused by the dipteran gall-midge Dasineura crataegi.


  1. ^ Christensen, K.I. (1992). "Revision of Crataegus sect. Crataegus and nothosect. Crataeguineae (Rosaceae-Maloideae) in the Old World". Systematic Botany Monographs. 35: 1–199. doi:10.2307/25027810. JSTOR 25027810.
  2. ^ a b c "Crataegus laevigata". Germplasm Resources Information Network. Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  3. ^ Online Atlas of the British and Irish Flora: Crataegus laevigata
  4. ^ Gutermann, W. (2011). "Notulae nomenclaturales 41-45. (New names in Cruciata, Kali, and some small corrections)". Phyton: Annales Rei Botanicae. 51 (1): 95–102.
  5. ^ Poiret, J.L.M. (1798). "Néflier; Mespilus". In J.B.A.P.d.M. De Lamarck (ed.). Encyclopédie Méthodique. Botanique. Vol. 4. Paris: H. Agasse. pp. 437–447.
  6. ^ Christensen, K.I.; Talent, N. (2013). "Crataegus laevigata or C levigata – a Paleographic Analysis". Phyton: Annales Rei Botanicae. 52 (2): 195–201.
  7. ^ Jacquin, N.J. 1775. Florae Austriacae sive Plantarum Selectarum in Austriæ archiducatu: sponte crescentium icones, ad vivum coloratæ, et descriptionibus, ac synonymis illustratæ.
  8. ^ Byatt, J. (1974). Bot. J. Linn. Soc. 69: 15–20.
  9. ^ Brummitt, R. K. (1986). Taxon 35: 556–563.
  10. ^ a b Phipps, J.B.; O’Kennon, R.J.; Lance, R.W. 2003. Hawthorns and medlars. Royal Horticultural Society, Cambridge, U.K.
  11. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Crataegus laevigata 'Paul's Scarlet'". Retrieved 15 April 2020.
  12. ^ "Crataegus laevigata 'Punicea'". RHS. Retrieved 5 May 2020.
  13. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Crataegus laevigata 'Rosea Flore Pleno'". Retrieved 20 July 2013.

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