Crataegus laevigata 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Plantae Tracheophyta Magnoliopsida Rosales Rosaceae

Scientific Name: Crataegus laevigata (Poir.) DC.
Common Name(s):
English Midland Hawthorn
Mespilus laevigata Poir.
Taxonomic Source(s): Kurtto, A. 2009. Rosaceae (pro parte majore). In: Euro+Med Plantbase – the information resource for Euro-Mediterranean plant diversity. Berlin Available at:

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-05-23
Assessor(s): Khela, S.
Reviewer(s): Bilz, M. & Leaman, D.J.
European regional assessment: Least Concern (LC)
EU 27 regional assessment:
Least Concern (LC)

This species is classified as Least Concern due to its widespread distribution, stable populations and no major known threats.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Crataegus laevigata is native to Europe. It is also cultivated widely in temperate zones and is naturalised in North America (USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program 2012). In Europe it occurs predominantly in Central Europe to the north Iberian Peninsula, Sicily and Romania at elevations between 450 and 1,200 m (Castroviejo et al. 1998).
Countries occurrence:
Austria; Belarus; Belgium; Croatia; Czech Republic; Denmark; Estonia; France (Corsica, France (mainland)); Germany; Hungary; Italy (Italy (mainland), Sicilia); Latvia; Lithuania; Luxembourg; Moldova; Netherlands; Poland; Romania; Slovakia; Slovenia; Spain (Spain (mainland)); Sweden; Switzerland; Ukraine (Ukraine (main part)); United Kingdom (Great Britain)
Additional data:
Lower elevation limit (metres):450
Upper elevation limit (metres):1200
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:In Ireland and many other regions, this species is extremely uncommon yet is common in its hybrid form (C. monogyna and C. x media). However it is not native in Ireland and was most likely introduced from England from commercial nurseries supplying hedge plants (Invasive Species Ireland 2012). It seems abundant everywhere else in its range.
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Midland hawthorn is a shrub or small tree found in ancient woodlands, borders of woodlands, old hedgerows and banks growing on clay soil. It is also found in open pastureland and associated with Oak and Beech trees. It is a lowland species and is shade tolerant (Online Atlas of the British and Irish Flora 2012, Castroviejo et al. 1998). The flowers are hermaphrodite and pollinated by midges (Plants for a Future 2012). Blackbirds, thrushes and finches nest in the branches and feed on the haws.

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Hawthorn is considered to be extremely valuable as a medicinal plant and is used for treating heart and circulatory disorders, such as angina. Its fruit contains bioflavanoids which have high antioxidant properties and prevent deterioration of blood vessels. The fruit is also antispasmodic, cardiac, diuretic, sedative, tonic and vasodilator (Plants for a Future 2012). When Crataegus plants are subjected to heat and cold stress this increases the important secondary metabolites and their total antioxidant capacities in leaves. Flavanol and flavanoids are important metabolites used in the preparation of herbal hawthorn remedy for treatment of heart disease (Kirakosyan et al. 2003). The antioxidative flavanoid extracts from the fruit and flowers contain proanthocyanidins which improve blood supply to the heart by dilating coronary vessels, improving metabolic processes in the heart increasing contraction of heart muscles and eliminating some types of arrhythmia and also inhibit angiotensin converting enzyme for treating high blood pressure. Hawthorn extracts have a long history of use in Europe for treating congestive heart failure, especially when combined with digitalis or other plants containing cardioactive glycosides and arteriosclerosis (Lewis and Elvin-Lewis 2003).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s):

The threats to this species are not known. The hybridization with other Crateagus species may be causing a decline in this species. Hawthorn populations, especially in the UK, consist of a mixture C. laevigata and C. monogyna to a greater extent than C. laevigata, which is a product of hybridization in the wild and plantation of the hybrid species in nurseries. This hybrid may be considered an invasive species as it is not native to the UK (Allen and Hatfield 2004).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions:

There are no conservation measures in place. It is listed as Least Concern in Belgium (Van Landuyt et al. 2006), Denmark (NERI 2007), Germany (Ludwig and Schnittler 1996), Luxembourg (Colling 2005), Switzerland (Moser et al. 2002) and the UK (Cheffings and Farrell 2005).

Citation: Khela, S. 2012. Crataegus laevigata. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T203425A2765212. . Downloaded on 23 September 2017.
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