Until I read Jean Byatt’s article on hawthorns in a past issue of the Newsletter I hadn’t realised that there were two native hawthorns in the south east, so I went out to look for the less common one, Crataegus laevigata, at our local farm, which has old woodland and clay soils.
On a meadow edge I found a hawthorn in leaf, with its flowers just coming into bud. As in the pictures in the article, the leaves were not deeply lobed, and the lower edge of the leaf was lightly serrated.
Not quite convinced, I posted it to the Wild Flowers of Britain and Ireland Facebook group; Tim Rich soon agreed with my identification, and Geoffrey Hall noted “If you carefully pull the unopened bud of the flower apart, you can usually see the two stigmas”, which I did. How satisfying to learn a new species!