The extensive hawthorn (Crataegus) genus includes an estimated 140 species spread throughout North America and Eurasia. These include more species suitable to Finnish conditions besides the hedge hawthorn (C. grayana) used so commonly throughout the country. Chinese haw is a small broad-crowned tree with shiny lobed leaves. It bears white flowers in spring, red berries and beautiful leaf colour in autumn, but is very rare in cultivation despite its attractiveness.
In China the red berries, tangy to taste and containing much vitamin-C, are used to make sweets, food, and wine as well as traditional medicines. In particular, the larger-berried form C. pinnatifida var. major, with berries the size of gooseberries, is widely cultivated. Chinese haw is also widely used as root stock when grafting dwarf forms of its close relations, the pears (Pyrus) and the quince (Cydonia)
Used to a steady continental climate, Chinese haw begins its growth in spring as soon as the weather warms, so where to plant it demands some consideration. The Mustila trees are from North Korea and have grown well under a protective canopy near the Arboretum’s Kahvila (Coffee House) and on Atsalearinne (Azalea slope), but badly on the sunny slope of Ketunmäki (Fox Hill).