Hawthorns

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Fermi

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Hawthorns
« on: July 13, 2019, 12:25:57 PM »
Crataegus species and hybrids perform well in our conditions.
The Mexican Hawthorn, Crataegus mexicana, is semi-deciduous in our climate. In mild winters it retains some foliage till the new foliage emerges. This winter it looks like it will completely defoliate. It forms a spreading small tree and once established it seems to be fairly drought tolerant.
It produces masses of large yellow fruit which ripen in winter and amazingly aren't attacked by the parrots until they fall. I've never tried them but my cousin visiting from Portugal last year said that they were similar to Azarole in taste.
cheers
fermi
Mr F de Sousa, Central Victoria, Australia
member of AGS, SRGC, NARGS
working as a physio to support my gardening habit!

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Alisdair

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Re: Hawthorns
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2019, 08:57:32 AM »
Fermi, thanks, I've learned something! I had to look up what azarole was (and found that it's the Mediterranean medlar, Crataegus azarolus, apparently native to the North African and Near Eastern Mediterranean including Cyprus and Crete).
Alisdair Aird
Gardens in SE England (Sussex); also coastal Southern Greece, and (in a very small way) South West France; MGS member (and former president); vice chairman RHS Lily Group, past chairman Cyclamen Society

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John J

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Re: Hawthorns
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2019, 09:55:05 AM »
I can confirm that Crataegus azarolus is common in Cyprus. The older generations ate them raw or made a kind of marmalade from them but, as with many things, the younger generations are not as involved with carrying on the traditions.
Crataegus monogyna is also present and there is a naturally occurring hybrid between the two, Crataegus x sinaica.
Cyprus Branch Head. Gardens in a field 40 m above sea level with reasonably fertile clay soil.
"Aphrodite emerged from the sea and came ashore and at her feet all manner of plants sprang forth" John Deacon (13thC AD)

Umbrian

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Re: Hawthorns
« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2019, 05:41:58 AM »
A sign of more affluent times I would think - when times were hard and food not so easy to come by people were glad to glean whatever they could to supplement their diets, now tastes are more refined and also they are not willing to spend the time involved in harvesting such fruits and making them palatable in some cases. Sad to think that even favourites such as blackberry and apple pie, made from laboriously gathered wild blackberries, may soon become a thing of the past.
MGS member living and gardening in Umbria, Italy for past 19 years. Recently moved from my original house and now planning and planting a new small garden.

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Fermi

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Re: Hawthorns
« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2019, 12:39:13 PM »
I should've included this pic from back in October when the crataegus was in flower.
cheers
fermi
Mr F de Sousa, Central Victoria, Australia
member of AGS, SRGC, NARGS
working as a physio to support my gardening habit!

David Dickinson

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Re: Hawthorns
« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2019, 11:21:13 AM »
Hi

When I saw the name 'Medlar' earlier in this thread I didn't recognise the leaf of the plant being referred to. It turns out that what people grow around Rome and that I had always assumed was Medlar turns out to be Japanese Medlar, Eriobotrya japonica or Loquat. They were introduced into Italy through Naples in the 1700s. They are eaten here but not nearly as much as they used to be. The fruit seems to go off very quickly but that, it appears, is a necessary process. Want to know more about "bletting"? Read on https://gardenandhappy.com/medlar/
I have a small garden in Rome, Italy. Some open soil, some concrete, some paved. Temperatures in winter occasionally down to 0C. Summer temperatures up to 40C in the shade. There are never watering restrictions but, of course, there is little natural water for much of June, July and August.

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John J

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Re: Hawthorns
« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2019, 12:07:28 PM »
David, Eriobotrya japonica are very commonly grown in Cyprus. In fact a generation ago almost every household would have a tree in the yard. The younger generation, as with many things, haven't carried on the practice. As you say the British in particular refer to them as medlars, although, as you also say they are in fact loquats. They do not need to be bletted and are eaten straight from the tree. We have 2 trees and also a true medlar, Mespilus germanica, the fruit of which does need to be bletted before being edible. For this to happen on the tree generally needs a period of frost, something we do not experience. We could pick the fruit and put it in the fridge for a while to mimic the cold spell but have found the end result not really worth the time taken. So we grow the tree for its novelty value and as an ornamental with its attractive blossom.
Cyprus Branch Head. Gardens in a field 40 m above sea level with reasonably fertile clay soil.
"Aphrodite emerged from the sea and came ashore and at her feet all manner of plants sprang forth" John Deacon (13thC AD)