The Universal Herbal: Crataegus Oxyacantha; Common Hawthorn, or White Thorn.

The Universal Herbal;
or botanical, medical and agricultural dictonary.
Containing an account of All the known Plants in the World, arranged according to the Linnean system. Specifying the uses to which they are or may be applied, whether as food, as medicine, or in the arts and manufactures.
With the best methods of propagation, and the most recent agricultural improvements.
collected from indisputable Authorities.
Adapted to the use of the farmer - the gardener - the husbandman - the botanist - the florist - and country housekeepers in general.
By Thomas Green.
Vol. I
Printed at the Caxton Press by Henri Fisher.
Printer in Ordinary to His Majesty.
Leaves obtuse, trifid, serrate; styles two, sometimes three or four; seeds usually two, but sometimes one, three, or four. The common hawthorn flowers and dried fruit are said, by Hill, to be used in medicine as diuretics, and serviceable in all gravelly complaints, but are not much esteemed. The varieties of this species usually flower in May, and particularly the Glastonbury variety, which usually flowers in January or February, so that it may happen to be in flower on Christmas-day. The great-fruited variety has an exceedingly large, oblong, smooth, and bright scarlet-coloured fruit; the buds of the yellow variety are of a fine yellow colour, and are succeeded by a golden-coloured fruit, which it continues to bear throughout the winter, and was originally imported from Virginia. The white variety is but a paltry tree; the double-flowered, however, is one of the greatest ornaments of which our shrubberies can boast, and may be kept down to any size; its beautiful flowers come out in large bunches in May, they are of a pure white, and often appear entirely to cover the shrub; they change at length to a faint red, and are frequently succeeded by a small imperfect fruit. Few trees can surpass the hawthorn in beauty, during the season when it is in bloom; it is therefore well adapted for ornamental plantations, and particularly proper for standing single in lawns or parks, where it will grow to the height of twenty or even thirty feet, and sometimes measure from five to nine feet in the circumference of its trunk. The wood is tough, and may be employed for axle-trees, and the handles of tools. The root of an old thorn, says Evelyn, is excellent both for boxes and combs; when planted singly, it rises with a stem big enough for the use of the turner, and the wood is scarcely inferior to box. A decoction of the bark affords a yellow dye, which, with the addition of copperas, is used for dyeing black. The berries are the winter food of the thrush, and of many other birds; and hogs and deer are also very partial to them. The peasants of many countries are known to eat them, and the Kamtschadales even make wine from them. In addition to the name of white thorn, the English call it May-bush and wick, when used for hedges, for which purpose it surpasses all other live fences; (see Hedge and Quick;) the Germans call it hagedorn; the Danes, hagetorn; and the Swedes hag torn, whence the English also derive the name hawthorn, and apply the contraction haws to the fruit; in France it is known by the appellation of aubepine, or epine blanche; in Italy, by the term bianco spino; and in Spain, espino blanco: all of which signify white thorn. In order to raise the white. thorn, the most usual practice is, to sow the berries either in October or November, or else very early in the spring, either broadcast or in drills, in beds of about four feet wide, with valleys of eighteen inches in width between them, and covering the berries an inch deep with fresh light mould. Thus, though most of them should not come up until the second spring, yet they will have the continual benefit of the sun, air, and rain, all of which it may be presumed will make them come up better and shoot stronger, than when they lie bu ried in a heap during more than a year. The following plan of Mr. Portcher's is subjoined, as containing some useful directions on this subject. The haws should remain on the bushes till the end of October, when they become blackish: if you do not sow them immediately as soon as they are gathered, spread them on an airy floor for five or six weeks, till the seeds are dry and firm, then plunge them into water, and rub off all the pulp between your hands with the assistance of a little sand; spread them again on the loft for three or four days till quite dry, mix them with a fine loose sandy mould, in quantity not less than the bulk of the seeds, and lay them in a heap against a south wall, covering them over three or four inches deep with soil, of the same quality as that with which they are mixed. If you do not sow them in the first, let them remain in this situation till the second spring, as the seeds, when sown, will not appear in the first year. That the berries may be as equally mixed with the soil as possible, turn over the heaps once in two months, blending the covering with the seeds, and at every turning give them a fresh covering in the winter months. They must be sown in the first dry weather in February or the beginning of March: let them be separated from the loose soil in which they were mixed with a wire sieve; choose good fresh dry well-prepared land; divide it into beds of three feet and a half broad, with alleys of eighteen inches; push over a little of the surface of the beds into the alleys; sow them with great care, so that they may not rise in clusters, and that the plants may in general be at least an inch asunder; clap them into the earth with the back of a spade, draw the soil back from the alleys, and cover the seeds only half an inch deep. In the succeeding spring draw out all the largest plants, wherever they rise too close together; shorten their roots, and lay them in lines a foot asunder, and four inches distant in the rows, having cut off so much of their tops as to leave them about two inches above ground; and there let them remain for two years. Those who are not straitened for ground may drop the seeds in drills that are eight inches asunder, and double that distance between each pair of drills; they also may be drawn off, wherever too thickly set, in the following spring, and the rest cut with a spade five or six inches below ground, to remain another year. Thorns also may be propagated to much advantage, and two years' time be saved, by cutting from their roots: for this purpose, at removing a nursery of these plants, cut off all unnecessary roots that are straight and clean, and only of one or two years' growth, let them not exceed four or five inches, and either early in October or February lay them in drills cut out by the spade, with their tops a quarter of an inch below the surface; let these drills be a foot asunder, and lay the roots three or four inches separate: in the next spring cut them within three or four inches of the surface, for they will be in general about eighteen inches high, and well rooted, at two years old. In whatever way thorns are propagated, in October they should be planted out in rows, at least eight inches asun der, and six inches in the row, their roots having been shortened, and their tops cut off, so as to stand four or five inches above ground: in this nursery they should remain no more than two years, the ground being dug in spring and autumn, and the plants cut in the first season, an inch or two above the former cutting: when again removed, they should be placed in rows four feet asunder, and two feet distant in the row; they should also be cut to the height of a foot or fourteen inches: and about the end of June clipped straight in the sides, and then in the tops. Having stood a year longer, they should he again cut to the height of thirty inches, and clipped as before. At Midsummer in the third season they may be cut at about three feet and a half high, and may be planted in the succeeding autumn for handsome hedges at four feet high; if plants of a larger size be desired, they must be removed once more,and will be six feet high in thiee years. Quick, thus removed, and planted out at large, will make an almost immediate fence, and be a great saving, wherever fencing is expensive.

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