Crataegus pinnatifida. Known in traditional Chinese medicine as shan zha, Chinese hawthorn is a very ornamental small tree. Spring trusses of white flowers reminiscent of bridal wreath are followed in the fall by the glossy fruit so beloved by Asian gardeners and cooks. The leaves are frequently mistaken for oak and they turn a burnished red before dropping a month after the fruit ripens.
The berries are eaten fresh, in pies or jams, as a tea, or dried and sold on skewers by Chinese street vendors in the fall.
Chinese hawthorn fruit is antibacterial and contains numerous bioactive constituents including flavonoids and organic acids. Recent trials have demonstrated its efficacy in lowering blood cholesterol, improving blood circulation, and acting as a heart tonic. The fruit is also being reviewed for its anti-tumor properties on skin cancer lesions.
Easy to grow in most areas. Self-fertile. Can take wet or dry soil and is somewhat drought tolerant when established. Full sun for best fruit set. Mature size about 20' x 15'. Zones 6-9.
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