How do you tell if the buds on Hawthorn are flowers or not? Well you just have to use your eyes and you can see how different they are.
The bud in the center is only leaves as you can see it is quite open.
This bud is a flower bud, the center is full and a lot harder to the touch.
Then the flower buds from the center extend with the flowers on the ends of the stalks.
I have been told that Hawthorns only flower on old wood so do not be tempted to clip to early.
I know from experience that collected Hawthorn will not flower until at least six years after collection.
Be patient and you will be rewarded.