Also called ‘Woodland Hawthorn’, it is related to the Common Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna), but it differs in that it has shallower lobed leaves, and it has two or three stamens in the flower and thus produces two or three stones in the berry. It grows into a fairly large shrub, and sometimes into a small shapely tree up to 15m (49ft) in height. It flowers in abundance in May to June. The flowers are white or pinkish-white, but cultivated forms with bright crimson flowers are planted in parks and make attractive specimen trees.
It prefers shade and is found in ancient woodland and hedgerows in the wild, but it is also used in planting schemes in towns and cities. A fairly common native hawthorn found in central and southern England, although not as frequent as the Common Hawthorn.
The Midland Hawthorn hybridises with other hawthorns quite freely in the wild, and there are several cultivated forms used in urban and suburban planting schemes, notably ‘Paul’s Scarlet’, with double crimson flowers,’Punicea’ with single crimson flowers, and ‘Plena Alba’ with double white flowers.
Midland Hawthorn (Crataegus laevigata), park, Staffordshire, England. June 2013.