Project Pancake Flora –
Photo thanks to Guido Bonett
One of the most prominent wild shrubs in the autumn must surely be the Hawthorn in fruit. This thorny deciduous shrub coming from the extensive Rose family grows mainly in maquis habitats and rocky valley sides. The bright red berries ripen in autumn following the spring flowering of its beautiful clusters of scented white flowers. The small fruits are edible reminiscent of some type of apple. Migrating birds such as song thrush and starling enjoy this autumn bonus and in return they help the Hawthorn disperse its seeds for tree regeneration. Without birds’ assistance this is one of the more difficult shrubs to grow at home.
Hawthorn often features in foraging guides and has been called ‘Food for the heart’ as it has proven useful in heart and circulatory diseases amongst other things.
Locally the presence of the genus Crataegus dates back to at least the early Neolithic as evidenced by charcoal records – yet it is unfortunately very rarely seen in current public landscaping.
Check out our Community library for publications on local biodiversity!
Click here to get an insight into Trees and Shrubs of the Maltese Islands and their Habitats by Eman J. Calleja.
Photos by Guido Bonett and text by Annalise Falzon
Plants and Nature Conveying Augmented Knowledge for Everyone