All About the Hawthorne Bush

By Shannon C , last updated June 5, 2011

The hawthorne bush, also known by its botanical name of Cratageus or common name hawthorne tree, belongs to the rose family, but you might never realize it upon first glance. With its prickly, dense and erratic growth, the hawthorne bush appears to be more the black sheep out of all its gentler siblings. Hawthorne bushes are noted first and foremost for their usefulness as a privacy hedge, screen, or natural fence. Hawthorne bushes grow fast and quite quickly they will form an impenetrable hedge, so care must be taken when selecting the planting location to avoid having to control an unruly bush in a small space.

Hawthorne bush berries are prized for their medicinal properties, as are the leaves, which have given rise over the years to another common nickname, the "bread and cheese tree". Hawthorne leaves are purported to satisfy hunger cravings as readily as a meal. Additional medicinal uses for hawthorn bush berries, leaves, flowers, and seeds range from serving as tasty additions to culinary creations, lowering high blood pressure, brewing teas and tonics for diuretic and mood purposes, stopping smoking, and making a drink that tastes quite similar to coffee. It almost appears that there is no limit to what this bush can offer in terms of healing and medicinal properties, but care must be taken to consult a medical professional before ingesting any part of the hawthorne bush for health reasons.

While there are many different varietals of hawthorne within the species, the hawthorne bush in general prefers full to partial sunlight and soil that has excellent drainage. The hawthorne bush is not picky about soil types but does appreciate frequent water at least once weekly and more in dry conditions. Pruning should be done in early spring before blossoms appear, and fertilization should be offered at this time as well.

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