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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

17 October, 2009

Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna)

Probably one of the most noticeable of autumn berries along the hedgerow is the Haw. The berries start bright red like this and gradually deepen to dark red before withering away.

Everyone knows hips and haws. We were taught about them at infant school and they always seem to go together like strawberries and cream! Although both are ultimately members of the Rose family they are very different plants so I am not sure why they should be so linked.

Like the Rose Hip however, Haws have long been used by humans and I remember my aunt used to make Haw Jelly, a form of jam, although I can't remember what it tastes like.

Haws have strong medicinal qualities too, being particularly good for the heart and circulation apparently.

Popular with Redwing and Fieldfare, and the Thrush family in general, Haws are another important winter food source for many creatures. There is the odd belief that a good crop of haws means its going to be hard a winter when what it really means is we had a good spring and lots of the flowers were pollinated.