Being a bright red berry the old saying about avoiding red berries sticks to mind but I do remember reading that Hawthorn berries, or Haws, are edible...

Is this true? Is there a seed to watch out for in the Haw, or are they like a raspberry / blackberry?

2 Answers 2


If you are referring to Crataegus, then yes Hawthorne is edible, the pomes are like tiny apples with two flower spots on the bottom. It is commonly made into jelly, syrups and country wine.

Regarding the seed, you want to pull this out after cooking the pome just like you would the heavy solids of any other fruit. I know you mention raspberry and black berry as examples of some where you don't have to, but it my opinion the seeds ruin the jelly, and I buy and make seedless jellies.

Regarding the toxicity of the seeds, they are roughly as toxic due to cyanide and arsenic as Apple seeds are. You should avoid swallowing too many seeds, but the occasionally missed and swallowed seed is as likely to be as harmful as swallowing the accidental apple seed.

  • Great...Hawthorne makes a great hedgerow shrub as well so if you like Hawthorne products and you like hedge rows and hedge laying, then you have a great marriage of uses.
    – Escoce
    Commented Dec 9, 2015 at 14:54

Crataegus is definitely eatable, and has medicinal qualities. But remove the seeds before preparing any significant quantity. You also might wish to know that mature hawthorn fruit is often loaded with Codling moth larvae. And read this about seed toxicity.

  • Oh wow! I know berries get buggy but didn't know Haws wouldn be big enough for a moth larva. The more you know! Is there an overlap between best picking for Haws and the moth larva burrowing into the fruit?
    – Aravona
    Commented Dec 9, 2015 at 19:38
  • 1
    @Aravona, they are all sizes. The moths lay eggs in the spring while the fruit is still green. This usually happens right around the "drop" (tree sheading excess fruit). So you can try trapping the moths in the spring, or catch the fruit before the larvae grow to a significant size. The riper the fruit, the bigger the moths. Commented Dec 9, 2015 at 22:57

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