Crataegus pinnatifida - Bunge.
Common Name Chinese Haw
Family Rosaceae
USDA hardiness 5-9
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Riverbanks, on sandy soils or stony slopes[74]. Among shrubs, on slopes at elevations of 100 - 2000 metres[266].
Range E. Asia - N. China, Korea.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Wet Soil Semi-shade Full sun

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Crataegus pinnatifida Chinese Haw

Crataegus pinnatifida Chinese Haw
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of lolypop
Crataegus pinnatifida is a deciduous Tree growing to 7 m (23ft) by 7 m (23ft).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 6 and is not frost tender. It is in flower in May, and the seeds ripen from Sep to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Midges.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist or wet soil and can tolerate drought. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.
It can tolerate atmospheric pollution.


Woodland Garden Secondary; Sunny Edge;
Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Fruit.
Edible Uses:

Fruit - raw or cooked[105, 177]. A pleasant flavour[178]. The orange fruit has a mealy texture with an acid taste and a slight bitterness but is fairly nice raw[K]. It ripens fairly late, specimens seen at the end of October 1998 were not quite fully ripe[K]. The fruit can be used in making pies, preserves, etc, and can also be dried for later use. The fruit is about 15mm in diameter[200], though in some forms it can be 25mm in diameter[266]. A nutritional analysis is available[218]. There are up to five fairly large seeds in the centre of the fruit, these often stick together and so the effect is of eating a cherry-like fruit with a single seed[K].
Figures in grams (g) or miligrams (mg) per 100g of food.
Fruit (Dry weight)
  • 352 Calories per 100g
  • Water : 0%
  • Protein: 1.5g; Fat: 3.8g; Carbohydrate: 91.6g; Fibre: 6.9g; Ash: 3.1g;
  • Minerals - Calcium: 326mg; Phosphorus: 96mg; Iron: 8mg; Magnesium: 0mg; Sodium: 0mg; Potassium: 1253mg; Zinc: 0mg;
  • Vitamins - A: 0mg; Thiamine (B1): 0mg; Riboflavin (B2): 0mg; Niacin: 0mg; B6: 0mg; C: 0mg;
  • Reference: [ 218]
  • Notes:
Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Alterative;  Antibacterial;  Anticholesterolemic;  Antidote;  Antiscorbutic;  Cardiotonic;  Deobstruent;  Hypotensive;  
Laxative;  Stimulant;  Stomachic;  Vasodilator.

The fruit is antibacterial, anticholesterolemic, cardiotonic, hypotensive, stomachic, vasodilator. It contains several medically active constituents including flavonoids and organic acids[279]. It has been shown to lower blood cholesterol levels and to improve blood circulation[176, 238, 279]. It is used in Korea in the treatment of abdominal distension, pain, diarrhoea and to induce menstruation[279]. The dried fruit is alterative, antiscorbutic, deobstruent, laxative, stimulant and stomachic[218]. The fruits and flowers of hawthorns are well-known in herbal folk medicine as a heart tonic and modern research has borne out this use. The fruits and flowers have a hypotensive effect as well as acting as a direct and mild heart tonic[222]. They are especially indicated in the treatment of weak heart combined with high blood pressure[222]. Prolonged use is necessary for it to be efficacious[222]. It is normally used either as a tea or a tincture[222]. The seed is recommended in the treatment of difficult labour, hernia and swollen genitals[218]. The leaves and twigs are used as an antidote to varnish poisoning (from certain Rhus spp)[218]. The root is used in the treatment of nausea and vomiting[218].


Other Uses
Wood - heavy, hard, tough, close-grained. Useful for making tool handles, mallets and other small items[82].
Cultivation details
Industrial Crop: Medicinal;  Management: Standard;  Minor Global Crop.

A very easily grown plant, it prefers a well-drained moisture retentive loamy soil but is not at all fussy[11, 200]. Once established, it succeeds in excessively moist soils and also tolerates drought[200]. It grows well on a chalk soil and also in heavy clay soils[200]. A position in full sun is best when plants are being grown for their fruit, they also succeed in semi-shade though fruit yields and quality will be lower in such a position[11, 200]. Most members of this genus succeed in exposed positions, they also tolerate atmospheric pollution[200]. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus[200]. Seedling trees take from 5 - 8 years before they start bearing fruit, though grafted trees will often flower heavily in their third year[K]. The flowers have a foetid smell somewhat like decaying fish. This attracts midges which are the main means of fertilization. When freshly open, the flowers have more pleasant scent with balsamic undertones[245]. Most trees have very few thorns, some forms are thorn-free[202]. A very ornamental plant[1, 11]. The sub-species C. pinnatifida major has larger fruit than the type species, it is cultivated for this fruit in China[46, 178, 200] Seedlings should not be left in a seedbed for more than 2 years without being transplanted[11].
Seed - this is best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a cold frame, some of the seed will germinate in the spring, though most will probably take another year. Stored seed can be very slow and erratic to germinate, it should be warm stratified for 3 months at 15°c and then cold stratified for another 3 months at 4°c[164]. It may still take another 18 months to germinate[78]. Scarifying the seed before stratifying it might reduce this time[80]. Fermenting the seed for a few days in its own pulp may also speed up the germination process[K]. Another possibility is to harvest the seed 'green' (as soon as the embryo has fully developed but before the seedcoat hardens) and sow it immediately in a cold frame. If timed well, it can germinate in the spring[80]. If you are only growing small quantities of plants, it is best to pot up the seedlings as soon as they are large enough to handle and grow them on in individual pots for their first year, planting them out in late spring into nursery beds or their final positions. When growing larger quantities, it might be best to sow them directly outdoors in a seedbed, but with protection from mice and other seed-eating creatures. Grow them on in the seedbed until large enough to plant out, but undercut the roots if they are to be left undisturbed for more than two years.
Other Names
Found In
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :
Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Crataegus acclivis 42
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Crataegus altaicaAltai Mountain Thorn32
Crataegus anomalaArnold hawthorn32
Crataegus apiifoliaParsley-Leaved Hawthorn22
Crataegus aprica 32
Crataegus armena 22
Crataegus arnoldiana 52
Crataegus atrosanguinea 32
Crataegus azarolusAzarole42
Crataegus baroussanaTejocote42
Crataegus caesa 42
Crataegus calpodendronPear Hawthorn32
Crataegus canadensisCanadian hawthorn22
Crataegus canbyiCockspur hawthorn, Dwarf Hawthorn, Cockspur Hawthorn22
Crataegus champlainensisQuebec hawthorn42
Crataegus chlorosarca 32
Crataegus chrysocarpaFireberry Hawthorn, Red haw, Piper's hawthorn,32
Crataegus coccinoidesKansas Hawthorn32
Crataegus columbianaColumbian Hawthorn32
Crataegus crus-galliCockspur Thorn, Cockspur hawthorn, Dwarf Hawthorn22
Crataegus cuneataSanzashi, Chinese hawthorn33
Crataegus dilatataBroadleaf hawthorn32
Crataegus dispessaMink hawthorn32
Crataegus douglasiiBlack Hawthorn42
Crataegus durobrivensisCaughuawaga Hawthorn42
Crataegus ellwangerianaScarlet Hawthorn52
Crataegus elongata 42
Crataegus festiva 52
Crataegus flabellataFanleaf hawthorn32


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Expert comment
Botanical References
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Readers comment
catharine   Thu Jan 18 2007
i'm wondering if one can develop a urticaric response to the ingestion of dried haw in green tea?
Ken Fern, Plants for a Future   Sat Jan 20 2007
I feel it is very unlikely that the hawthorn is causing Catharine'sproblem. However, there are reports that, on very rare occasions, people have had an allergic response to hawthorn whereby they have developed a rash on the hands, but there are no reports of the rash occurring elsewhere. In these cases, the side effect was mild and did not prevent continuation of use of the herb. If the rash was more severe than this, then I would recommend seeking further skilled advice either from a herbalist or your medical practitioner. Quite often, when we develop a rash as a result of taking herbal medications (or other natural cleansing treatments), then this is because the herb is working to get rid of toxins from the body, but the body is unable to eliminate them quickly enough and so the toxins are carried around in the bloodstream and cause the rash. In this case it is important to drink plenty of fluids (preferably water) and to eat foods such as rice or millet which help to draw the toxins out of the body.
IVAN H. EARL   Sat May 19 2007
is this useful or used for weight loss or appetite suppressing?
Divina   Thu Jul 5 2007
There is a trend in Asia at the moment that markets a certain slimming pill(Zhen de Shou) as containing crataegus pinnatifida. Is there any basis to the claim that the plant can be an active ingredient in fat loss pills? Is there any basis to it? It's an alarming trend and users report increased alertness, palpitations, warming sensation in the belly and spasm, some tremors, suppressed appetite, and weight loss by the fifth day.
Elisabeth Keene   Fri Oct 12 2007
I am absolutely no expert, but I do know that the Chinese have been using this hawthorn for centuries, and that no ill effects are reported. Could it be some other ingredient in the slimming pill causing the problem? I go to Beijing regularly and bring back the dried fruit and make a tea with it. I have never heard any of my Chinese friends say it was good for slimming. It is used for heart problems and joint problems. Ashita
Elisabeth Keene   Fri Oct 12 2007
Is this the same as Crataegus cuneata? The descriptions on this site are the same except for the range? Ashita
N. Gonzalez   Sat Mar 15 2008
I'm researching this crataegus pinnatifida because it is one of the main ingredients in Zhen de Shou. I am intersted in taking these pills to aid in weight loss and currently know about (5) people total who are taking them and are experiencing RAPID and STEADY weight loss! I am a little skeptical because you can never really be too safe in taking weight loss pills and many do come with side effects. I hope to be able to find a little futher insight on this ingredient and hear other testimonials if there are any other users out there. Thanks for your attention in reading my posting.
sandy   Sun Mar 23 2008
Zhen de Shou contains crataegus pinnatifida. is this useful or used for weight loss or appetite suppressing? is this safe as appetite suppressant?
Cay   Thu Dec 18 2008
Cay Dec 18 I just need to know more about the weight loss pill Zhen de shou. I tried taking it for 7 days and i lost 4 lbs. Everytime I take it I feel cold and uneasy. I want to continue taking the pills but Im not sure if its safe.
joy   Tue Mar 17 2009
I have been taking Zhen de Shou for 2 days now. It's too soon to say if how effective it is for slimmin. But what I notice is I started feeling a bit lighter around my waist. What worries me is I feel like having light fever, something that is not validated by the thermometer. Is this quite normal? Is this plant really goog for slimming and heart problems? Is there any side effects? Hope that somebody here can shed light on this.
Leen   Thu Mar 19 2009
Hi..i'm Leen from Malaysia..I have been taking the dried Crataegus for 1 week..I bought from Chinese traditional medicine shop..I used it to loss my weight..and it works..I put in hot water for 15 minutes..and drink it every night..
Tia Haynes   Sat Nov 28 2009
I have thought Hawthorn to be an appetite stimulent, but other medicinal values, such as heart tonic, regulating blood pressure, etc., have been long known & broadly used.

1st Chinese Herbs

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Subject : Crataegus pinnatifida  

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