Following our earlier post on Birch, here’s a quick look at our most iconic native tree for May. Why not step outside and introduce yourself to a hawthorn tree…
Also known as white thorn or The May, hawthorn is a hedgerow tree, making a good barrier for livestock. There are 1,000 species of hawthorn and it was widespread in UK before 6,000BC. A hawthorn can support 50 species of insects, live for over 400 years and flower twice a year.
Sedative, diuretic, regulator of blood pressure, heart stimulant. Flowers used as a beauty treatment for the face, berries for sore throats
Leaves were eaten for early spring nourishment and known as ‘bread & cheese’; jams and chutneys from the berries.
Handles for tools – considered lucky, makes the hottest firewood
Represents fertility, marriages at Beltane/ May Day and associated with wells, healing, charms and blessings. A sprig of hawthorn brought protection from fire, lightening, spirits and storms at sea. It is thought to bring misfortune if a tree is destroyed.
Garlands of hawthorn were made to augment blessing; trees themselves also garlanded in thanks. Traditionally a globe of hawthorn was made and hung in the house all year, then burnt at new year to protect the house.