Stop 8-Hawthorns (Cretaegus spp.)

After you pass most of the oaks, you will see several hawthorn trees growing right alongside the path. They are small, gnarled trees characterized by the giant thorns sprouting from their trunks and branches. Hawthorns colonize open fields; their presence in this area shows it was in pasture as recently as the 1960s. The giant thorns and branches seen growing on the trunk are a defense mechanism against herbivores (possibly now extinct) to keep them from climbing up the tree. Hawthorns have been used for centuries in traditional medicine for heart disease, but can have dangerous side effects if used incorrectly.

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