Hawthorn is a large genus of shrubs and trees in the family Rosaceae.
The fruits of the Chinese Hawthorn are tart, bright red, and resemble small crabapple fruits. They are used to make many kinds of Chinese snacks and also used to produce jams, jellies, juices, alcoholic beverages, and other drinks. The dried fruits of Chinese Hawthorn are used in naturopathic medicine and traditional Chinese medicine, primarily as a digestive aid. Other species (especially Crataegus laevigata) are used in Western herbal medicine, where the plant is believed to strengthen cardiovascular function. Hawthorn is also used as an aid to lower blood pressure, and treat some heart related diseases.
The fruits of Mexico Hawthorn, also known as tejocotes, are eaten raw, cooked, or in jam. The mixture of tejocote paste, sugar, and chili powder produces a popular Mexican candy called rielitos. In the southern United States, Hawthorn species are collectively known as Mayhaws and are made into jellies which are considered a great delicacy.
Howthorn leaves are edible and they are tender enough to be used in salads.