In May, our hedgerows burst into life as Common Hawthorn erupts with masses of creamy-white blossom, colouring the landscape and giving this thorny shrub its other name of 'May-tree'. During the autumn and winter, red fruits known as 'haws' appear. Common Hawthorn is a rich habitat for all kinds of wildlife from Hawthorn Shield Bugs and Yellowhammers that feed on the haws, to Wood Mice and Slow Worms that shelter in the thorny thickets.
How to identify
Common Hawthorn has shiny leaves, divided into three to seven pairs of lobes, and five-petalled, sweet-smelling flowers. It can be distinguished from the similar Midland Hawthorn by its more deeply lobed leaves and the fact that it only has a single seed in each fruit.
Where to find it
When to find it
How can people help
Our hedgerows support all kinds of wildlife, providing vital food and shelter. But these habitats are disappearing with the intensification of agriculture. The Wildlife Trusts are working closely with farmers, landowners and developers to promote wildlife-friendly practices, such as planting hedges and leaving field margins. We have a vision of a 'Living Landscape': a network of habitats and wildlife corridors across town and country, which are good for both wildlife and people. You can support this greener vision for the future by joining your local Wildlife Trust.