They are shrubs or small trees, mostly growing to 5–15 m tall, with small pome fruit and (usually) thorny branches. The most common type of bark is smooth grey in young individuals, developing shallow longitudinal fissures with narrow ridges in older trees. The thorns are small sharp-tipped branches that arise either from other branches or from the trunk, and are typically 1–3 cm long (recorded as up to 11.5 cm in one case). The leaves grow spirally arranged on long shoots, and in clusters on spur shoots on the branches or twigs. The leaves of most species have lobed or serrate margins and are somewhat variable in shape.
Also known as the Whitethorn, it is considered to be one of the most powerful trees. It is closely associated with witchcraft, protection, fertility. It is often used for love/marriage spells and protection with its powers of dispelling negative energy and strife. The Hawthorn is said to stand at the doors of the other world and is sometimes called the faery tree and can be found 'guarding' cemeteries and holy places. The tree except in May is usually regarded as a very unlucky tree due to its contradictory nature of having beautiful flowers and deadly thorns.