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HAWTHORN

Crataegus spp

There are over 70 species in the genus Crataegus of the family Rosaceae that have hawthorn as all or part of one or more of their common names.

This hardwood is typically a small, shrubby tree and has severe drying defects so lumber is not generally available. As the name suggests, most varieties have thorns and the tree/bush is sometimes used for natural livestock fencing. Hawthorn is also called haw which comes from an Old English word for fence. The berries are reputed to have medicinal properties.

Nearly as I can tell, the amount of sapwood varies greatly among Crataegus species, with some having only a very small, dark heart wood surrounded throughout by a much lighter sapwood (a look that is similar to persimmon although the heartwood in hawthorn is not black) and others having quite a bit of heartwood plus thick sapwood.

The wood is hard and dense and can be given a high natural polish (it will feel glass-like to the touch). Generally it is not a particularly attractive wood although there are exceptions.

A note on cockspur hawthorn's botanical name. It is the normal practice when a botanical name ends in the letter "i" to double it. Something to do with Latin, I suppose. For the species name Crataegus crus-gali, this is quite often not done and you'll find it both ways with the single "i" version apparently more common so that's what I've used on this page.

my samples:
NOTE: these pics were all taken in very bright incandescent lighting --- colors will vary under other lighting conditions


both sides of a sample plank of scarlet hawthorn / Crataegus coccinea --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of scarlet hawthorn / Crataegus coccinea --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of yellow hawthorn / Crataegus laciniata --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by Mark Peet whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of Washington hawthorn / Crataegus phaenopyrum --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by Mark Peet whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of Washington hawthorn / Crataegus phaenopyrum --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of Washington hawthorn / Crataegus phaenopyrum --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of dotted hawthorn / Crataegus punctata --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of English hawthorn / Crataegus oxyacantha --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of Quebec hawthorn / Crataegus submollis --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of Quebec hawthorn / Crataegus submollis --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of quartersawn black hawthorn / Crataegus douglasii --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site. I have found this sample vendor to be reliable, but I have no explanation for why this piece is so different in color from the other pics on this page.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of cockspur hawthorn / Crataegus crus-gali --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by Mark Peet whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


The samples in this section are all cockspur hawthorn contributed to the site by Gary Merlie whom I thank for these and other contributions to the site. Gary did not specify a botanical name but the only species I can find that uses the name cockspur hawthorn is Crataegus crus-gali. Gary harvested this wood in Shelby County, Illinois in 2014. HUGE enlargements are present of all of these pics.


a sample plank that prorates out to 50 lbs/cuft. I sanded the first face down to 400 grit and it took a glass-like polish. Although you can't really make it out in these pics, this piece has a definite, albeit weak, curly figure


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a really thin piece. Like the one above, this piece has a definite, but weak, curly figure. The 2nd side is rough and so looks lighter.


both sides of a small piece. Although you can't much see it on the raw side, the piece has a weak curly figure and Gary applied a maple stain and then an oil-based finish on one side and that REALLY makes the figure pop.


end grain of the piece directly above, showing the small heartwood


a cookie, nicely showing both the small, dark heartwood and the drying problems that this wood usually has. I sanded this face down to 400 grit and it took a glass-like polish.


two closeups of the piece directly above. The white area is probably white rot, but it is rock-solid and indistinguishable from the rest of the piece except for color.


HIGH GRIT END GRAIN CLOSEUP two areas of the cookie directly above


I cut up the cookie so as to give myself a perfectly quartersawn surface (two of them actually) and there are closeups of those surfaces. Although it's just about impossible to tell from the pics, there ARE very clear, albeit tiny, ray flakes on these surfaces. If the wood is held at an angle rather than face-on, they are much more clear. I only sanded these to 240 grit and at this level of magnification, you can clearly see sanding scratches and they almost overwhelm, visually, the ray flakes.

end of Gary's cockspur hawthorn pieces




sample plank contributed by Gary Merlie, whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site. Gary wasn't sure whether this was common hawthorn or red hawthorn


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above



The pieces below are all from a 6" long trunk section of a small tree. This section was given to me as black hawthorn, and I split it in half for the pics. There is also and an even shorter section from another small tree of similar size. For all of these pics, HUGE enlargements are present.


quartersawn surface (cut DIRECTLY through the pith) and end grain of the trunk section. It is roughly 6" in diameter. The rays flakes in the quartersawn surface are shown nicely in the closeup directly below. I cut this piece up to make two standard sized sample planks and both are shown below


end grain closeup and a closeup of part of the quartersawn surface of the piece directly above


both sides of a sample plank of black hawthorn cut from the log half above. HUGE enlargements are present.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of black hawthorn cut from the log half above. HUGE enlargements are present.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above
end20grain20and20end20grain20closeup20of20the20piece20directly20above


this is the other half of the same trunk section as shown above, but this one I've cut up to show both flat cut (the first pic) and quartersawn (the second pic) faces


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


closeups of a flat cut surface and a quartersawn surface of the piece directly above


both sides of a sample plank of black hawthorn cut from one of the pieces above. HUGE enlargements are present


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above although I see I got it upside down


this is the other, very short, trunk section that I got. I've sliced off two sides to show flat cut sections but did not post pics of the flat surfaces because they show nothing that is not already shown in the flat cut sections above.


closeups of the middle and one edge of the piece directly above


when I cut up the piece directly above, I kept this little slice for my sample box


both sides of a sample plank of apple hawthorn / Crataegus aestivalis --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was contributed to the site by Ken Cooper, whom I thank for the contribution. Ken sent a long slice and I cut off a chunk for sample processing. He has this as mayhaw and I've listed it as apple hawthorn (both are right). The Crataegus aestivalis is an assumption based on the fact that it's the only species that has mayhaw as a common name.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above



The Wood Book pics


flat cut, quartersawn, end grain
hawthorne (Crataegus punctata) from The Wood Book --- both levels of enlargement are available for each of the 3 views


flat cut, quartersawn, end grain
cockspur hawthorn (Crataegus crus-galli, also listed as Newcastle thorn) from The Wood Book --- both levels of enlargement are available for each of the 3 views.


flat cut, quartersawn, end grain
scarlet hawthorn (Crataegus coccinea, also listed as white thorn and red haw) from The Wood Book --- both levels of enlargement are available for each of the 3 views.


flat cut, quartersawn, end grain
Douglas hawthorn (Crataegus douglasii, also listed as black thorn, Western haw and black haw) from The Wood Book --- both levels of enlargement are available for each of the 3 views. Note that the correct spelling of the genus is today considered to be "Crataegus", not "Cratagus".

web pics:


end grain of a piece listed as hawthorn / Crataegus monogyna


slab listed as wild hawthorn --- looks to be freshly cut with high moisture content.


planks


turning stock


burls, all from the same vendor


hawthorn bowls turned and photographed by Tom Pleatman, whom I thank for these pics and other contributions to the site. Big enlargements are present.