Scientific name: Crateagus douglasii.

Facts: The native hawthorn in northeast Oregon is just coming into bloom at lower elevations. It can be recognized by the five broad white petals, egg-shaped leaves that are toothed on the outer edge, and stout thorns about an inch long on the stems.

Fortunately, the thorns are few, making this an attractive shrub or small tree.

Black hawthorn grows up to middle elevations in the mountains. It's often around Ponderosa pine and usually near water. In the fall it produces small blackish-purple berries. The berries are edible, but dry, seedy and not very tasty.

The Latin name "douglasii" is for David Douglas, for whom Douglas fir and a Portland high school is named. Douglas was a Scotsman hired by the Royal Botanical Garden in London to explore the Pacific Northwest and look for new plants. He made three trips to this region from 1823 to 1833, and many of his discoveries are named for him.

Hawthorn was commonly used in Europe for hedgerows, and "haw" comes from an Anglo-Saxon name for fence. In North America, the thorns were used by Indians for various purposes, including fish hooks and game pieces. The fruit and bark were used for medicinal purposes, including treating diarrhea, dysentery and stomach pains.

Where: At least one in the parkway, midway between the river and the levee, about 100 feet west of the Bedford footbridge.


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