Spiny Hawthorn / Crataegus aronia / زعرور شائك

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Status: Abundant

Spiny Hawthorn is spiny tree belongs to the Rosaceae family, it is native to Palestine. Leaf color is green, leaf form is lobed, and leaf margin is emarginated. Leaf arrangement is alternate. The stem reaches up to 6 m tall, trunk is scabrous, branches rather upright-growing, dense and thorny. Flower is similar to the flower of apple, pear, and plum. It has five lobes, flower colour is white, greenish in the center, flowers hermaphrodite only and blooming in March-April. The flowers are arranged in dense, convex and beautiful inflorescences of 10 flowers and pollinated by birds and animals.

Fruits are Pome; a yellow pome, a fleshy fruit with a thin skin, not formed from the ovary but from another part of the plant. Spiny Hawthorn has a tasty, sweet-sour pulp. The fruits of the Spiny Hawthorn can be differentiated from the fruits of the plum, the fruits of the Hawthorn are juicier and sourer and yellow, whereas the fruits of the plum are dry to corky and brown. Seeds are contained in chambers in the center of the fruit.

Ecology: It is adaptive and resistant and grows in diverse habitats, in different plant associations and in different climatic regions: the borderline belt between the Mediterranean and the desert region where the Mediterranean maquis and forest habitats. The Preferred Climate for growing is the dry and semi dry. It is glycophyte in terms of salinity resistance, non- succulent plant with spiny stems.

It follows the Med - Irano-Turanian Chorotype.

Uses and medical actions: The fruits are edible and jam could be made out of them, its pulp is juicy, soft and tasty. The fruit is rich in vitamin C. Leaves, fruits and flower petals added to tea to strengthen heart and clear arteries. In the Palestinian folk medicine, the fruits are used for healing diarrhea, sore throat, internal hemorrhage, dizziness, convulsions, high blood pressure, heart disease. An alcoholic beverage made from the flowers is used to treat insomnia, menopause symptoms, anxiety and nervousness. A boiled drink of the bark or roots is used against high blood pressure. Cool Facts: The life span of this tree is hundreds of years. Historically ,Greeks used it to make crowns for their brides and build their wedding thrones. Germans used it in funerals. French used it to exorcise evil spirits.

Distributions in Palestine: Mediterranean area, on mountains in Palestine especially; Nablus mountains, Nablus desert, Al-Quds mountains, Al-Quds desert and Dead Sea valley.

Other names:  Hawthorn, Azarole, Mediterranean Hawthorn, Azarole.

 IUCN red list status: least concern 
Local status: least concern