The common hawthorn, also known as the quickthorn or the May tree, must surely be one of our most tenacious species. Its Latin name, Crataegus monogyna, seems suitably descriptive when it comes to the hardiness of the tree, but perhaps not so apt when one considers the beauty of the hawthorn in bloom.
Midland hawthorn (Crataegus laevigata) also grows in many southern and central parts of the UK. Although less seen now, it was probably the more common of the two species in medieval times, when ancient woodlands and hedge banks were more prominent in the British landscape.
Hawthorn is a prominent habitant of hedgerows across the country and is probably best known in this guise by the public at large. However, I would guess that most photographers think first and foremost of the windswept, gnarly hawthorn trees that can be found on our moors, fells and mountains. These are the examples that exemplify the tenacious spirit of the tree and probably represent the most enticing photographic opportunities for most of us.
Although there is no denying the beautiful shape and colour of hawthorn leaves, I have to say that for me, it is a tree more defined by its incredible form all year round. Its wonderful display of flowers in spring and berries in late summer to early autumn are just the icing on the cake!
Living in Yorkshire, I make no apology for starting with one of the most iconic hawthorn trees in the county, if not in the UK. Perhaps I’m biased, but Winskill Stones is... [vision_notification style="tip" font_size="20px"]Read the whole article inside issue 71.[/vision_notification]