21. THE HAWTHORNS
Hawthorns comprise a large group of small-sized trees. More than a score of varieties are common in New York State. The differences are chiefly in flower and fruit and it seems advisable in this publication to call attention to the general characteristics of the group without going into the minute differences that separate the many species. The very small size of the trees, generally less than 20 feet, makes them of no commercial value. In fact, some members of the group may be regarded as a serious pest, because of the rapidity with which they seed up old pastures, shading out available pasturage or making costly the preparation of the land for forest planting.
|Bark - generally
dark brown to gray in color, scaly.
Twigs - stiff, zigzag, armed with large, generally unbranched thorns 1 1/2 to 2 inches long.
Winter buds - round, chestnut brown in color; terminal bud usually present but no larger than lateral buds.
Leaves - simple, alternate, 3 to 4 inches long, 2 to 3 inches wide, serrate on the margin; in some species leaves more or less ovate, others from 5- to 9-lobed.
Fruit - berry-like, in a cluster, each fruit the size of a small cherry; when mature in early autumn, usually red, with from 1 to 5 nutlets in center of fleshy covering; highly prized by birds in winter.
Distinguishing features - stiff thorns, 1 1/2 to 2 inches long; berry-like fruit, usually red.