The Hawthorne Bush

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Learn More in these related Britannica articles:. Various kinds of hawthorns also exist westward across North America, southward to Mexico and the Andes Mountains, and throughout much of Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. Shrub , any woody plant that has several stems, none dominant, and is usually less than 3 m 10 feet tall.

When much-branched and dense, it may be called a bush.

How to Grow Hawthorn

Intermediate between shrubs and trees are arborescences, or treelike shrubs, from 3 to 6 m tall. Trees are generally defined….

Physical description

Tree , woody plant that regularly renews its growth perennial. Most plants classified as trees have a single self-supporting trunk containing woody tissues, and in most species the trunk produces secondary limbs, called branches. Rosaceae , the rose family of flowering plants order Rosales , composed of some 2, species in more than 90 genera. The family is primarily found in the north temperate zone and occurs in a wide variety of habitats. A number of species are of economic importance as food crops, including apples,….

History at your fingertips. Sign up here to see what happened On This Day , every day in your inbox! By signing up, you agree to our Privacy Notice. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. More About Hawthorn 2 references found in Britannica articles Assorted References association with fairies In fairy distribution In Rosales: Distribution and abundance. Help us improve this article!


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Contact our editors with your feedback. Introduction Physical description Common species. Edit Mode. Tips For Editing. You may find it helpful to search within the site to see how similar or related subjects are covered. Hawthorn has been used medicinally. The bark was used to soothe sore throats in Scotland, while an infusion of the flowers was good for anxiety and for stimulating the appetite.

Living in Season – slow time, seasonal celebrations, holidays

Also, this leaf infusion was used to ease childbirth pains in East Anglia. In Russia, hawthorn was used to treat conditions of the heart, much as it is used today, in particular for heart pain, angina. Traditional Scottish herbalists used hawthorn for balancing high blood pressure. The use of hawthorn as a heart tonic comes specifically from an Irish physician from the nineteenth century.

Celtic Meaning Hawthorn Tree - Ogham Meaning on lunsahedshatchso.ml

An infusion of hawthorn leaves was used topically to draw out splinters and bring boils to a head. I have seen older salad recipes that include young hawthorn leaves in the long list of ingredients.

Under the Hawthorn Tree

Wine and mead can be made from both the flowers and berries. I like to make mead with the dried flowers—it is excellent! The berries can be infused in brandy or made into conserves along with other fruit, as they are mealy and dry but high in pectin. The berries were thought to be best after Halloween, when witches had flown over them.

I love hawthorn tea, made from the dried flowers and leaves of the tree. After drying, the stinky smell seems to lessen. It is a great tonic for circulatory and heart concerns, best used without any other medications and taken for months to produce an effect. I make a decoction from the dried berries along with rosehips, hibiscus, cinnamon chips, allspice and a few cloves.

I have a friend who likes to extract the berries in port wine. Here are some unique and interesting recipes to try. Layer the flowers with sugar in a jar, until full. Heat the 4 cups sugar, water and strained lemon juice until sugar has dissolved, boil for 3 minutes. Set aside to cool, then add rosewater.


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Pour the cooled syrup into the jar of prepared flowers. Screw the lids on loose and place in a saucepan on sheets of folded newspaper, with the folded paper between jars to prevent them from touching. Fill pan with cold water and bring to boil then lower heat to barely simmering for one hour. Lift jars and tighten lids. When cold strain and pour syrup into bottles and cork.


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Store in refrigerator. Keeps for months. In Ireland most of the isolated trees, or so-called 'lone bushes', found in the landscape and said to be inhabited by faeries, were hawthorn trees. Such trees could not be cut down or damaged in any way without incurring the often fatal wrath of their supernatural guardians.

The Faery Queen by her hawthorn can also be seen as a representation of an earlier pre-Christian archetype, reminding us of a Goddess-centred worship, practised by priestesses in sacred groves of hawthorn, planted in the round.

The site of Westminster Abbey was once called Thorney Island after the sacred stand of thorn trees there. Hawthorn is at its most prominent in the landscape when it blossoms during the month of May, and probably the most popular of its many vernacular names is the May-tree. As such, it is the only British plant which is named after the month in which it blooms.

As 'Thorn' it is also the most common tree found in English place names, and the tree most frequently mentioned in Anglo-Saxon boundary charters. It has many associations with May Day festivities. Though the tree now flowers around the middle of the month, it flowered much nearer the beginning of the month, before the introduction of the Gregorian calendar in The blossoms were used for garlands, and large leafy branches were cut, set in the ground outside houses as so-called May bushes and decorated with local wildflowers.

Using the blossoms for decorations outside was allowed, but there was a very strong taboo against bringing hawthorn into the house. Across Britain there was the belief that bringing hawthorn blossom into the house would be followed by illness and death, and there were many instances of hapless children being scolded by adults for innocently decorating the home. Mediaeval country folk also asserted that the smell of hawthorn blossom was just like the smell of the Great Plague in London. Botanists later discovered that the chemical trimethylamine present in hawthorn blossom is also one of the first chemicals formed in decaying animal tissue.

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In the past, when corpses would have been kept in the house for several days prior to burial, people would have been very familiar with the smell of death, so it is hardly surprising that hawthorn blossom was so unwelcome in the house. It has also been suggested that some of the hawthorn Crataegus monogyna folklore may have originated for the related woodland hawthorn Crataegus laevigata which may well have been commoner during the early Middle Ages, when a lot of plant folklore was evolving.

Woodland hawthorn blossom gives off much more of an unpleasant scent of death soon after it is cut, and it also blooms slightly earlier than hawthorn, so that its blossoms would have been more reliably available for May Day celebrations.