Hawthorne Fruit

The Crataegus Clan: Food & Poison

The very first Hawthorn I ever saw — and the only one I knew for quite a while — grew on the other side of the dirt road that ran by our house in Pownal, Maine.

This Hawthorn was very old. They can live to at least 400 years. It’s gone now — road widening — and I never knew which Hawthorn it was but that’s not unusual with this species. Experts today can’t agree if there are 200 species of Hawthorns or 1,000. The genus has a lot of variability.  What I remember most clearly was its huge thorns, most about two inches long. It also had several families of birds in it each year. Few predators were going to brave those thorns.

Twenty-feet tall with a crown equally wide, it grew on high ground right at the intersection of two pastures, a very fitting place. Haw means hedge and indeed Hawthorns were used as hedges. In fact, in 1845 England pass the General Enclosures Act allowing Hawthorns to be used as hedges to mark off land. That caused a lot of irritation because until then folks could go wandering from hill to dale at will without obstructions. It took another 150 years or so for England to pass a “right to roam act” allowing people more access to such land. Let it not be said that England does not correct bad laws, it may just take a century or two.

The other thing that intrigued me as a kid growing up by the tree was that the writer Nathaniel Hawthorne had the same name as the tree. I’ve never met a Mr. Catalpa, Mrs. Hackmatack, or Ms. Oak. Truth be known that author’s family name was Hathorne. But, one of his ancestors was a judge in the Salem Witch Trials. The speculation is Nathaniel change the spelling of his last name to distance himself from that infamous incident. Indeed, just as he had an ancestor who judged “witches” at the trial I had an ancestor convicted at the trials for witchcraft and hanged (Susannah North Martin.) Over the years I have met a few Pynes, Apples and one Dr. Maples (the forensic anthropologist who identified Pizarro’s remains and those of the Russian royal family. We met under unusual circumstances. If you want to know, email me. He wrote “Dead Men Do Tell Tales.”)

Nathaniel Hawthorne, 4 July, 1804 – 19 May, 1864

The first thing you need to know about the Hawthorn berries is you should not eat the seeds. They contain cyanide bonded with sugar, called amygdalin. In your gut — actually small intestine — that changes to hydrogen cyanide and can be deadly. You can cook the berries then discard the seeds, but don’t eat the seeds. I recently saw a recipe on the internet that called for using hawthorne berries whole. Clearly that cook never made that pie, or if she did, only once. Don’t eat Hawthorne seeds. If you eat the raw berries spit the seeds out. If an adult mistakenly eats one or two seeds they aren’t deadly but they could be to a child. The seeds are best avoided.  Very young spring leaves — called Bread and Cheese — can be a trail side nibble as well as the flower buds or young flowers. Mature flowers should be avoided or any part that smells like almonds when crushed.

The claim to fame for Hawthorn berries is they are high in pectin, so they have been added to other fruits to make jelly as the Hawthorn itself often has little apparent taste. However some Hawthorns are tasty enough in their own right to be made into jelly. Should civil society end and you want to make jelly, the Hawthorn berry is your friend. Just ripe berries have the most pectin and over ripe berries the least.

No-cook Hawthorn Jelly, photo courtesy of Ray Mears.

No-cook Hawthorn Jelly, photo courtesy of Ray Mears.

At least one Hawthorn’s berries (those of the Crataegus monogyna, the one-seed Hawthorn) can be made into a no-cook jelly.  If you have the-one seeded Hawthorn here’s the formula with thanks to Ray Mears and Professor Gordon Hillman. If it doesn’t work you can always cook it, add pectin and make jelly.  I would suspect this was how jelly was discovered.

Hawthorn Jelly Dried, photo courtesy Ray Mears

Hawthorn Jelly Dried, photo courtesy Ray Mears

Put the berries in a bowl and quickly crush them thoroughly with your hands. The resulting liquid should be about the consistency of pudding just before it sets. It should be that consistency naturally. If you’ve had a dry year add some water to get to that consistency. Work quickly. Squeeze the seeds out of the berries then quickly filter the thick slurry into a bowl. In about five minutes the liquid will jell. Flip it over onto a plate. It can be eaten as is or sliced or sun dried. It will be sweet and will last for many years. Remember just ripe berries have more pectin that over-ripe berries. To see a video on this go here.

Hawthorne blossoms

Crataegus monogyna is native to Britain and Europe but is naturalized in the United States and Canada. It can be found north and east of Tennessee, up the west coast from California to Alaska, as well as in Utah, Montana and Arkansas. Local and regionally known Hawthorns are C. aestivalis (commonly known as the May Haw. The only tree I’ve tried to raise that died)  C. anomala, C. arnoldiana, C. calpodendron, C. canadensis, C. chysocarpa, C. coccinoides, C. columbiana, C. crus-galli, C. dispessa, C. douglasii, C. flava, C. intricata, C. marshallii, C. mollis, C. oxycantha, C. phaenopyrum, C. pulcherrima, C. pringlei, C. pruinosa, C. pubescens, C. rivularis, C. spathulata, C. submollis, C. succulenta, C. uniflora, and C. viridis. All but the C. phaenopyrum, C. pulcherrima and C. viridis are know to have been used as food. There are no “poisonous” Hawthorns except for the seeds. Many Hawthorns, while not poisonous, are not palatable. Some improve with cooking. The genus has many medicinal uses and is known for its heart support and is actually a beta blocker. Herbalist recommend one teaspoon of leaves or berries (minus seeds) or blossoms seeped in a cup of water twice a day.

Crataegus (krah-TEE-gus) comes from the Greek word Krataigos, which was the ancient name used by Theophrastus (372-287 BC) for a flowering thorn. Kratus means strong — the wood is tough — and akakia or akis, thorn. Monogyna ( mon-NO-gy-nuh) means one seed. I don’t know if there is any connection but most Greeks with a surname that end in -akis comes from or had ancestors who came from Crete.

Hawthorn Schnapps

Stalkless berries from Crataegus monogyna or Crataegus laevigata are usually recommended. Direction: Rinse the Hawthorn berries and leave them to dry off. Fill 2/3 of a clean glass jar with berries. Cover with clear, unflavored vodka. Close the jar with a tight-fitting lid. Let the berries steep for 5-6 weeks in a dark place at room temperature, 64-68°F. Shake lightly from time to time. Strain and filter into a clean glass bottle or jar with tight-fitting lid. Age for a couple of months in a dark place at room temperature before serving.

Haw sauce

* 1½ Lb stalkless Hawthorn berries

* ¾ pint vinegar of your choice

* 4 oz sugar

* Salt to taste, optional, some use up to one ounce of salt

* 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Wash berries. Put in pan with vinegar and cook gently for 30 minutes. Press the pulp through sieve, return to the pan with sugar and seasonings. Boil for 10 minutes. Bottle and seal.

Hawthorn Berry Soup

One pound of stalkless Hawthorn berries

1/2 cup water

Half a pound of sugar (more or less if you like)

2 cinnamon sticks

Pinch of chili flakes or powder (optional)

Add the Hawthorn berries to a pot  with the water. Bring to a gentle simmer, cover the pot tightly, cook for 30 minutes. Allow to cool, pass through a sieve (throw away the seeds). Transfer the sauce to a pan, add the sugar, cinnamon sticks and chili flakes or powder (if using). Cook until the sauce thickens sufficiently and serve.

Here is Euell Gibbon’s Recipe for Hawthorn Jelly:

To make Haw Jelly, crush three pounds of the fruit, add four cups of water, bring it to a boil, cover and let it simmer for 10 minutes, then strain the juice through a jelly bag and discard the spent pulp, seeds, and skins. If red haws are not too ripe, they will furnish ample pectin for jelly making, but if they are very ripe, add one package powdered pectin to the strained juice. We felt our juice could stand more acid, so we added the juice of two lemons. We put just four cups of this juice in a very large saucepan and brought it to a boil, then added seven cups of sugar and very soon after it came to a boil again, it showed a perfect jelly test.

Hawthorn Berry Catsup, from GatherVictoria.com


-2 cups hawthorn berries

-1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

-1/4 cup of water

– however much sugar or honey you want

-1/3 cup black cherry juice (optional but recommended)

-1/2 tsp sea salt (or as you like)

-Freshly ground black pepper or pinch of cayenne


1. Remove the berries from their stalks then rinse in cold water.

2. Place in large saucepan, adding the vinegar and water. Gently bring to boil and simmer for about 25 minutes until the skins start to split.

3. After cooling, push the mixture through a sieve or pass through a food mill to remove the pits (seeds.).

4. Return the mixture to the pan, adding your sweeteners, and slowly heat, stirring frequently. Add spices or flavorings.

5. Bring to a low boil, then simmer for a further 5 -10 minutes, until the sauce thickens and becomes slightly syrupy.

6. Remove from heat, then add, little bit at a time, the black cherry juice, stirring until you find just the right consistency and thickness you prefer in your ketchup. (Remember the sauce will thicken once cooled.

7. When happy with your result, pour the ketchup into sterilized bottles. Refrigerate and use within 3 months.

Green Deane’s “Itemized” Plant Profile

IDENTIFICATION: A medium-sized deciduous tree, 15 to 30 feet tall, branches slightly pendulous if not erratic. Leaves greatly varied, with C. monogyna they are simple, lobed, serrated at lobe tips, alternating to three inches long. Flowers small and white, bloom in late spring, five petals. Fruit a red pome with one seed, other species have multiple seeds. Long thorns on stems. Bark resembles an apple tree.


ENVIRONMENT: Prefers moist fertile soil and full sun. Make a good landscape tree.

METHOD OF PREPARATION: Out of hand (do not eat seeds.) Can be used to make jelly or as pectin for other fruits. Can be made into a sauce for cooking, or used to flavor alcohols.

 Herb Blurb

Herbalists say two teaspoons of leaves or seedless berries (or both) made into a tea twice a day is an effective beta blocker and lower blood pressure.

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{ 66 comments… add one }
  • Owen October 20, 2012, 4:11 pm

    thank you. i love your website. would u have mentioned more about how much berries can make a herbal tea for eg, and the health benefits of it for ones heart, cholestrol and blood pressure etc! than you. blessings

    • Karlene October 9, 2015, 11:52 pm

      Read the book Left For Dead by Dick Quinn. He had congested heart failure. Hawthorn berry and Cayenne Pepper and other herbs are all discussed in this book. He outlived the doctors predictions for 16 yrs and he tells you how in the book. I found mine at Abe Books for $5.00 like new

  • Pam October 25, 2012, 12:55 pm

    I see you’ve covered this on other forums, but this is the easiest way for me to write you, so here goes……

    I believe that I have numerous Indian Hawthorne bushes in my landscape (which has not received a stitch of chemicals in 8 years.), but I’d like to confirm this with an expert before I go and do something like make jelly from the berries.

    Do you know of a resource in the Tampa Bay area?

    Thanks so much. You’ve given me great ideas as I slowly incorporate perennial edibles into my landscape (not much of a forager).

    • Green Deane October 25, 2012, 1:22 pm

      As I said in an email you might have Hawthorns but more likely it is something else unless someone planted them. I usually find htem farther north.

  • Courtney January 24, 2013, 2:44 pm

    Hi there! Great post, I got a lot of ideas for this heart health cooking workshop I’m formulating.

    I purchased a bulk amount of whole dried berries from my local health food store, and they appear as if they were dried with the seeds still remaining.

    Do you know if this reduces the toxicity of the seeds? I’p have ideas of pulverizing and adding them to ice cream/smoothies/salad dressing.

    Thank you!

    • Green Deane January 25, 2013, 6:17 am

      The seeds have cyanide in them. Do not consume them in any way. You can cook the berries whole and filter out the seeds. Cooking does not impart cyanide to the rest of the material. Or you can use the whole berry to make tea et cetera. But you cannot eat or otherwise consume the seeds in any way, form or manner.

      • Henriette February 3, 2014, 2:11 am

        No. Hawthorn berry seeds aren’t toxic.
        There’s a lot of rose family plants with cyanoglycosides in the seeds, including apples, cherries, plums and peaches.
        (And really, cyanoglycosides aren’t cyanide. Pet peeve.)
        Dunno that I’ve heard about hawthorn seeds containing cyanoglycosides. _Generally_, those seed husks are thick enough that the question doesn’t even arise.
        _However_, if you crush the dried berries in a coffee grinder, those husks break open.
        I’ve made teas with dried crushed berries (and thus, crushed seeds), and there’s no taste of cyanoglycosides (= bitter almond) whatsoever.
        If you find the taste of bitter almonds in your crushed berry tea, well, rejoice … you’ve found a cheap source of laetrile, a single constituent used to ditch cancer.
        You’ll really need to apply yourself if you want enough cyanoglycosides for that bitter-almond tasting tea to be toxic.

        • Green Deane February 3, 2014, 5:49 am

          Thanks. I’ll have to look into it.

        • Karlene October 9, 2015, 11:47 pm

          I buy bulk Hawthorn berries from bulkherbs.com for blood pressure. They also sell the Haw Berry powered. After reading this article I inquired if the whole berry was crushed in the powder. They said it was and had never heard it was poisonous nor had any complaints . I make a tincture w/80 proof vodka also a tea w/my berries . Most of the herb books I read do not say anything about not eating the seeds. Hope you will research for more info as I am confused. Thanks for this site you are one newsletter I will not let go unread.

      • Neta March 4, 2015, 3:26 pm

        This is absolute nonsense. Hawthorn seeds are NOT that poisonous. I am not contesting that they have cyanide but you would have to eat a LOT of them to have any negative effects. If they were that poisonous, don’t you think there would be case reports of people getting sick? I have eaten plenty of them whole, as well as made tincture with blended berries (where the seeds got crushed up). Knowing what I know now, I wouldn’t recommend doing it that way, but to say it is that dangerous is a gross overstatement that belies a lack of experience with this plant.

        • Green Deane March 5, 2015, 7:38 am

          No, it shows a concern of being sued thus I err on the side of caution.

          • KrisTea November 19, 2015, 11:29 am

            THAT was the most enlightening comment of all. Thank you. That’s a sincere thank you, to you and to all the others who were willing to speak up and tell of their own experiences.

  • Christopher Wanjek January 25, 2013, 5:42 pm

    I’m rather certain I’m picking hawthorns, with every single ITEM except the thorn. I’ve read there are thornless varieties.

    Anyway, I soaked them last year in vodka for four months to make a very nice drink. I’ll have a new batch ready next month.

    I look forward to anyone’s support that hawthorns don’t always have thorns.

    • Monica November 28, 2013, 6:00 pm

      At last! Another person who knows about thornless hawthorn trees!

      I ordered 2 ‘Texas Hawthorn’ trees from a gardening catalog. That was about 3 years ago. The young trees are now producing fruit but NO thorns! This made me wonder if they were indeed hawthorn trees!

      After much searching, I finally found mention of some thornless varieties. Apparently this is what I have!

      I am now getting up the courage to taste the berries!

      • Aerliss August 28, 2014, 12:42 pm

        I collect hawthorn branches for my bunnies to nibble as I walk home from work along the cycle paths. Every plant I come across is different to its neighbours! I’ve found everything from the two inch thorn baring one !mentioned above to ones with many, many tiny thorns to thornless. They’re out there.

        I am in the UK though,and I’m willing to bet that many are garden escapees.

  • Grady July 30, 2013, 2:09 am

    This might be rare in Florida but I have found a wild one on my parents 5 acres in Crystal River. I am not sure what variety it is but I had to look closely at the tree to find any thorns. At first I thought it was thornless.

  • Ed September 3, 2013, 1:23 pm

    I was thinking of making an extrack from the haw berries.
    I was told use 100 proof grain alcohol.
    Do I have to pull the seeds out first?

    What about using a juicer-do I ned to take the seeds out first? Seems like a lot of work. There’s about 2-3 seeds in them !

    • Green Deane September 7, 2013, 3:40 pm

      No you can leaves the seeds in, then later strain out all the material.

  • VTA September 17, 2013, 9:48 am

    I’ve been very interested in this tree for some time and this is the best info I’ve found about it. Thanks!

    Also interested in Hawthorn Maple which had me completely confused the first time I came across it (in Montreal).

    If you were making your own tincture (?) from leaves, would you use only new leaves?

  • VTA September 17, 2013, 9:57 am

    There are a few Hawthorns nearby (North Metro Boston). None are identical, some have thorns, some don’t. Strangely enough, this morning I walked by one in a public area, and picked a few red berries. They only have one (rather large) seed.

  • Shon Yde November 15, 2013, 5:17 pm

    It is so good to have this site.I was always given fresh haw to eat as a child and told to spit out the seed.The wild hawthorn here was brought to New Zealand by the British Settlers,its crataegus laevigata.I now use Hawthorn tea for my heart and airways after a major accident.I planted a small hedge of hawthorn so that I would have a ready supply of Hawthorn leaves,flowers and berries.Its such a great site for all these recipes,remedies That are fast disappearing from our so called civilisation,plants & herbs along with food is the background of our individual cultures.The hawthorn is integral to Celtic Culture,it is ruled by Venus & Mars,it is a dual purpose plant beloved of the ancient Drui (Druids).

  • Angie January 2, 2014, 10:03 pm

    You would need to eat a lot of these seeds to cause any side effects. The effects are similar to the cyanide found in apple seeds and other fruit seeds, which are actually used as anti-cancer treatments for some people. You would have to eat an entire cup or more of just apple seeds (crushing the whole seed) before you would have any cyanide side effects in most cases. It’s present in very small amounts. The diet of people in past centuries focused more on ‘bitters’, instead of the ‘sweets’ that many of us focus on today. 🙂 Some bitter in your diet is good for you. The seeds contain ‘amygdalin’, which is used to produce laetrile. That has been shown to have some benefits with cancer patients. However, some sites will say it had no effects; usually those were using synthetic laetrile instead of natural meds. So, while you wouldn’t want to eat a lot of the seeds, you could eat a few without side effect. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/cam/laetrile/patient/page1/AllPages#2 has more info, but most of it is negative and based on the synthetic version of laetrile/amygdalin. I thought I’d add it though. I personally know one person with stage 2 throat cancer who used the apricot kernels–eating them. Her cancer did disappear without other treatments. My late husband used them, too, but he had stage 4 colon cancer, and it was a long shot trying them for that since he was already stage 4. I do see that many .edu websites are recommending the hawthorn for blood pressure. I’m glad my new house has quite a few growing in the yard!

  • Sylvia Smith January 17, 2014, 6:00 pm

    So, I’d like to make a tincture using Hawthorn berries. All I ever see around here is Indian Hawthorn. The berries are much smaller and blue, like a blueberry. Can I use these?

    • Henriette February 3, 2014, 2:15 am

      If it’s a Crataegus then yes. If it’s not a Crataegus, what is it?

    • Sonya February 19, 2014, 8:52 am

      Indian hawthorn is Rhaphiolepis indica, is in the Rosaceae family, as is Crateagus ssp. The berries are edible (though not especially tasty); they are better when cooked and made into jelly, etc. Cedar waxwings and other berry-eating birds like the fruits. It has no history of use medicinally, and is generally planted as a foundation plant because it is evergreen, drought and salt tolerant, and has attractive flowers.

  • eswari February 27, 2014, 6:09 pm

    What I don’t understand is why you would eat the seeds. The seeds are so hard, its natural to spit them out.
    I have just found out that tea made with the fresh or dry fruits with the seeds helps in completely removing phelm and superflous mucous that troubles one in the mornings. This site is fantastic. Thanks.

  • Maheswaran March 11, 2014, 3:41 am

    I need this hawthron tree or product..if anyone knows pls send me mail.

  • Ken Qualls April 23, 2014, 6:26 pm

    there is a contradiction about eating leaves and seeds.

    • Green Deane April 24, 2014, 10:16 am

      Where is the conflict? The fruit is edible but there isn’t much of it. That and the leaves are used as medicine. Medicinal applications are different than eating it, per se.

  • Viola Woolcott May 30, 2014, 4:48 am

    Hi there

    can you please tell me what the best way of taking Hawthorn please? ie bach flower remedies or the ‘real berries’??

  • B3E June 7, 2014, 9:26 am

    all seeds contain cyanide. protects the life inside from a world of unseen fungi/bact. dose is everything….takes a lot to bring you down.much like potatoes having nicotine you wont be hooked or dead. stop the worry and stop treating natural states of things as distilled extract. if you eat a handful of most any see expect a minute amount of free radicals to clear out and maybe a reduction in infection/severity of it

    good 4 heart and thats whats worth your worry. stop making mountains of mole hills especially as far s heart involvement your next to vesuvius

  • Janet June 16, 2014, 10:11 pm

    Try for this great site…I have 4 hawthorns and did not know what they were and uses,now I know…oh and one of my trees have a doves nest in it.

    • Lzz September 7, 2015, 1:34 am

      Hi Janet,

      I believe it is the season for hawthron berry fruit now. Do you have any that I’d like to buy some from you.
      Thank you.

  • rychy August 8, 2014, 3:33 pm

    I have a thornless hawthorn..I believe its called ‘Ohio Pioneer’
    I believe it was found and or developed at the Ohio State Agricultural and Technical Center in Wooster Ohio. When I bought it about 20 years ago it had a tag on it.

  • Micah August 11, 2014, 1:08 am

    Can anyone answer this question for me?
    I’ve found some species of hawthorn in a meadowland area. I think it’s Crataegus douglasii, but I’m not sure. I wasn’t sure of my ID so I didn’t eat the berries yet, but when I broke the dark purple/black berries open they were light green on the inside. (They were also pretty dry/mealy.)
    Are hawthorn berries green on the inside?
    Can anyone help me?

    • Green Deane August 11, 2014, 7:47 am

      Even botanists can’t tell Hawthorns apart.

      • RM McWilliams March 30, 2015, 4:33 pm

        Green Deane – Do hawthorns freely hybridize? Could this be why, or part of why, even botanists have difficulty distinguishing the Crataegus species apart?
        As ever, we deeply appreciate your videos, website, and forum!

  • Bethe Hagens August 15, 2014, 5:55 pm

    I love this page! The story on Nathaniel Hawthorne fascinated me because, oddly enough, he still attached himself to witches. My name (hagens) is the German word for “protective hedge of hawthorns,” and “hag” is the berry as well as the “hag” witch/medicine woman.

  • Razor September 3, 2014, 10:53 pm

    Just picked my first hawtorn today they’re big and beauty full not sure what to do with them think ill dry the and make tea just crushed some a bit still fresh and making tea now will see how it is.

  • Locky September 9, 2014, 7:52 am

    I’ve just pick a load of hawthorne berrys, how do I dry them out (Ray Mears) Style without any sun?

    • Green Deane September 9, 2014, 8:39 am

      Dehydrator, a low oven, back window of a car…

  • Dorothy October 19, 2014, 2:04 pm

    I’ve been researching for several days now to find out what type of tree I have in my yard in NC. This is what I have so far: undulate-serrated, alternate, oval-maybe heart shaped leaves. Don’t think any of the leaves are lobed but hard to tell if something just nibbled on one of the leaves here and there, broadly pointed, continuous pith, terminal bud (mulberry ovoid?) There are two sepals where the leaf stem and the (stem?) meet. Lo and behold, I actually found a thorn, which is what led me here. I don’t see any fruit. Two to three leaves are found coming from the nodes on the stems but most are only one leaf. Is it a hawthorne? Hoping you can help.

    • Dorothy October 19, 2014, 2:05 pm

      BTW, the leaves are wavy.

  • Charlie tuna October 26, 2014, 1:47 am

    What has been stated already is still confusing. some hawthorns are poisonous, and some are not. The common thread is that Hawthorns could affect cardiac patients; messing up rhythms or causing some other side effect. There has to be at least 80 varieties of Hawthorns out there.

    Instead of gambling, why not just find an oriental herb shop and get the dried berries that you can infuse into hot water? 10 teabags in Las Vegas, costs about $3. if you can identify the species of hawthorn that is safe, work with that, instead of maybe putting yourself into the hospital or morgue. getting cracked (open heart surgery) isn’t a fun thing at all. plus they use piano wire to shut your chest, and coughing is the worst…

    • RM McWilliams March 30, 2015, 4:28 pm

      Do you have documentation of which hawthorns are poisonous? Other than the seeds, that is?

  • Charlie tuna October 26, 2014, 1:55 am

    try this link:
    http://www.healthbenefitstimes.com/health-benefits-of-hawthorn-berry/. It explains a lot more about the Hawthorn than I. Charlie

  • JennyH December 12, 2014, 12:41 am

    I am new to gathering hawthorn berries around Canberra, Australia. (They are called a weed here, but some survive.) The ones that grow here are covered in green berries now in early summer, but I have found one bush with a number of dark brown berries, quite hard. Are these suitable for making tea and for grinding up to take medicinally? Or is it the ripe red fruit that should be used for both? After drying it, I guess. My husband and I have been taking commercially prepared hawthorn berries, and flowers and leaves for a number of years as a heart tonic. I note I should remove the seeds before grinding them up to take. Any advice welcome!

    • NevilleKing September 30, 2015, 6:57 pm

      I live at Yass near Canberra and pick only bright red berries from February to July each year. After peeling away the flesh from the seed with a pocket knife I eat only those portions of the flesh which meet with my approval regarding texture and colour. In addition I reject any berry with more than one seed. In July I pick an excess of berries which I spread out in a single layer of berries to dry indoors for consumption during the remaining months of the year. In some years I make wine from whole berries. There are many trees growing along roadsides in the Yass district but some have inferior berries which I ignore. My ambition is to be become self-sufficient in hawthorn berries grown on trees in my own garden as my health has dramatically improved since I started eating them

  • Jeremiah Johnson February 14, 2015, 4:48 pm

    Thamks Grean Dean, Great site, thank you for sharing your life long gathering of knowledge.:)

  • Sam W April 13, 2015, 10:28 am

    Greetings from South Africa,
    hey, how is that thing about the seeds of these Hawthorn berries? I have eaten hands full at times of them from my bush in my garden and am still alive and well. Birds come and feed on them and surely wouldn’t if the seeds were that bad. This is a matter of facts and not just to throw a spanner into the works, so to speak.

    • Green Deane April 13, 2015, 9:12 pm

      It does depend on which Hawthorn, and how many berries.

      • daniel October 22, 2016, 11:08 pm

        The truth is the seeds are not poisonous, apricot seeds have the same cyanide and they are taken by the hundreds for curing cancer. Somehow the cyanide is inert, google it, vitamin B17, amygdalin.

        • Green Deane October 25, 2016, 8:45 pm

          The key is amounts. 20 apricots seeds are the medium lethal dose.

  • art June 28, 2015, 9:44 am


    do they grow in orlando, fl

    i have been reading on indian hawthorn – would this article apply to the indian hawthorn as well?

  • Denman July 26, 2015, 10:08 pm

    I’ve eaten whole Hawthorn berries many times, crushed seeds and all, (with a hammer) sometimes up to 4tablespoons in a day. I did it as part of a health kick and kept it up for months. I’ve never felt any adverse affects. My tree is C. monogyna.

    • Green Deane July 27, 2015, 10:06 am

      Lucky you, you have the one that makes jelly without cooking.

  • Jing economou September 26, 2015, 3:05 pm

    Please help! Where I can purchase some fresh hawthorn berry in USA (as long as they can delivery in New York) please please help!!!!

    Fresh berry not the dried ones!

    Thanks a lot!!!!!

    • Tegan October 4, 2015, 7:54 pm

      You can find them growing wild in most of the northeast. They are ripe and ready for picking currently. You posted this a little bit ago but if you’re still looking for some let me know and I can try to help.

      • Sana August 13, 2016, 11:18 am

        I know this post is from last year but I really would love to find some fresh hawthorn. I live in Massachusetts and I recently found out that they do actually exist in the US. We used to eat them when we were little a lot in the middle east they were sold in stores everywhere. I would be very thankful if you can tell me where to get them fresh. I am afraid to pick from any tree by myself unless someone tells me its the right one!

        Thank you

  • Tonya March 23, 2016, 5:31 pm

    I have an 3 Indian Hawthorns be bought last year and am wondering if the berries are edible. I keep finding that some are some aren’t.

  • amin September 15, 2016, 2:24 pm

    i have a lot of this fruit for sale..how can sale that?
    i am in iran

  • Helen Bang November 3, 2016, 11:19 am

    Tried making some hawthorn schnapps. I just have a very unappetising muddy-coloured liquid.

  • Diane Keeling November 16, 2016, 11:38 am

    My hawthorn berries have developed a white coating. Can I still use them? I bought them 2 years ago.

  • jane manby January 20, 2017, 5:24 pm

    In England up until relatively recently Hawthorne was one of the trees from which switches were cut and brought inside in the winter, put into a vase in the warm. The buds would open and provide vitamin rich new leaves called Hawthorne tips. They could be picked off the tree later but this was a way of providing winter greens, it was done with lime trees (Linden) too. They were used in salads etc but were a traditional ingredient in a dish from the north east of England where my mum came from. Corn beef and onion suet dumpling was originally made with Hawthorne tips not onion and was cheap easy and filling.

    • Dan July 30, 2017, 3:21 am

      Great info. Thanks for sharing!

  • lc hensley July 3, 2017, 11:00 am

    are hawthorn berries the same as SEA Hawthorn berries? Please answer. Thank you.

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