Crataegus pentagyna

Crataegus pentagyna

The small-flowered black hawthorn (Crataegus pentagyna Waldst. & Kit. Ex Willd.) Is an arboreal species belonging to the Rosaceae family.

Systematics –
From the systematic point of view it belongs to the Eukaryota Domain, Kingdom Plantae, Magnoliophyta Division, Magnoliopsida Class, Subclass Rosidae, Rosales Order, Rosaceae Family, Maloideae Subfamily and therefore to the Crataegus Genus and to the C. pentagyna Species.
Two subspecies are recognized of this species:
– Crataegus pentagyna subsp. pentagyna;
– Crataegus pentagyna subsp. pseudomelanocarp.
The terms are synonymous:
– Crataegus colchica Grossh .;
– Crataegus davisii Browicz;
– Crataegus elbursensis Rech.f .;
– Crataegus klokovii Ivaschin;
– Crataegus melanocarpa M.Bieb .;
– Crataegus oliveriana Bosc ex DC .;
– Crataegus platyphylla Lindl. formerly Hohen .;
– Crataegus pseudomelanocarpa Pojark ..

Etymology –
The term Crataegus comes from the Greek κράταιγος crátaigos cratego, hawthorn (composed of κρᾰταιóς crataiós strong, robust and from αἴξ, αἰγóς aíx, aigós capra): perhaps an allusion to the fact that its thorns would keep even goats away.
The specific pentagyna epithet comes from the Greek πέντε pénte five and from γῠνή gyné female, female organs: with five ovaries and five styles.

Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
Crataegus pentagyna is a species of hawthorn native to south-eastern Europe that is found as far as the Caucasus.
Its natural habitat is that of growth especially in the edges of the woods.

Description –
Small-flowered black hawthorn is a small tree 4 to 6 meters tall, with young hairy shoots. It has few thorns, less than one cm long.
The leaves are broadly tapered or almost straight at the base, lobed, 2.5 – 7.5 cm long and almost or as broad. These on the sterile shoots are broadly ovate, the pair of basal lobes often deep; on the flowering shoots the leaves are narrower, rhomboid or obovate in shape, with a more tapered base; they are dark green and slightly hairy on the upper side; while they are lighter and more hairy on the lower page. The stem is up to 2.5 cm long; the stipules are large and deeply toothed.
It is a hermaphrodite species with flowers that are white in color, a little more than one cm in length in diameter, and are produced in the period between May and June in corymbs of 5 – 7 cm in diameter; the calyx and the flower stems are covered with gray down; twenty stamens, red anthers, with four or five styles.
The species is pollinated by midges.
The fruits vary in color from intense or dark purple to black, oval in shape and four or five long. Fruit black-purple, oval, about 1, 3 cm long.

Cultivation –
Crataegus nigra is a plant that prefers moist or wet soils and can tolerate drought. The plant can tolerate strong winds but not of a maritime nature. It can also tolerate air pollution.
It is a very easy plant to grow and once stabilized, it also succeeds in excessively humid soils.
From a pedological point of view it grows well on calcareous and clayey soils.
As for exposure, it prefers that in full sun especially if it is grown for fruit.
This species freely hybridizes with other members of this genus.
Young plants take 5 to 8 years to begin bearing fruit, although grafted trees often bloom profusely in their third year.
The flowers have a fetid smell, which tastes of decaying fish, a factor that attracts the midges which are the main means of pollination. When they are just opened, the flowers have a more pleasant scent with balsamic undertones.
As far as propagation is concerned, it is possible to start from seed and in this case it is good to sow as soon as the fruits are ripe, in the autumn period, with already cold weather. In this case, some of the seed will sprout in spring, although most will probably take another year.
The stored seed, on the other hand, can be very slow and irregular to germinate; to facilitate germination it should be hot stratified for 3 months at 15 ° C and then cold stratified for another 3 months at 4 ° C. in this case it may take another 18 months to germinate. Scarifying the seed before stratifying it could reduce this time. Fermenting the seed for a few days in its own pulp can also speed up the germination process.
If you are growing only small amounts of plants, it is best to pot the seedlings as soon as they are large enough to handle and grow in individual pots for their first year, planting them in late spring in flower beds or their final locations. When growing larger quantities, it may be best to sow them directly outdoors in a seedbed, but with protection from mice and other seed-feeding creatures. In this case they must be grown in the seedbed until they are large enough to be planted, but the roots must be trimmed if they are to be left undisturbed for more than two years. In general, seedlings should not be left in a seedbed for more than 2 years without being transplanted.

Customs and Traditions –
Even if there are not enough mentions for this plant, it is very likely that it has the same phytotherapeutic characteristics and the same active ingredients as other Crataegus species.
In fact, the fruits and flowers of many hawthorns are well known in popular herbal medicine as a tonic for the heart and modern research has confirmed this use. The fruits and flowers have a hypotensive effect as well as acting as a direct and gentle heart tonic. They are particularly indicated in the treatment of heart patients with hypertension. To be effective, prolonged use of the parts of this plant is necessary.
It is normally used both as a tea and as a tincture.
Fruits can be eaten both cooked and raw.
Other uses include that of wood which is heavy, hard, consistent and fine-grained. This is useful for making tool handles, clubs and other small items.

Preparation Method –
Of the small-flowered black hawthorn both the leaves, the young shoots, the flowers that can be prepared to obtain a tea or tinctures are used.
Fruit, on the other hand, can be eaten both fresh and cooked. This can also be used to prepare cakes, preserves, etc. and can also be dried for later use.

Guido Bissanti

Sources
– Acta Plantarum – Flora of the Italian Regions.
– Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
– Useful Tropical Plants Database.
– Conti F., Abbate G., Alessandrini A., Blasi C. (edited by), 2005. An annotated checklist of the Italian vascular flora, Palombi Editore.
– Pignatti S., 1982. Flora of Italy, Edagricole, Bologna.
– Treben M., 2000. Health from the Lord’s Pharmacy, Advice and experiences with medicinal herbs, Ennsthaler Editore.

Warning: Pharmaceutical applications and alimurgical uses are indicated for informational purposes only, they do not represent in any way a medical prescription; we therefore decline all responsibility for their use for curative, aesthetic or food purposes.

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