Hawthorns at Simpson's Fromus Reserve: can we distinguish two species?
Botanical recorders tend to walk eyes-down at Simpson's Fromus Valley Reserve, exploring the ancient semi-natural pasture flora. Turn your eyes up to the hedgerows and, at the end of May (2019), you may see the answer to the thorny question: Do we have both hawthorn species? They are separated by floral anatomy and leaf shape, and by peak flowering dates. Books say that they hybridise but, just now, it seems not too difficult to separate the two: Midland Hawthorn Crataegus laevigata, with lobed leaves, has almost finished blooming, while the laggardly Common Hawthorn Crataegus monogyna, with deeply cut leaves, is still flush with bright white, fresh blossom.
Common Hawthorn (above), by the stream-side today, still bears bright white, fresh blossom, whilst Midland Hawthorn with lobed leaves, is already setting fruit at the entrance gate.