May Birth Flower : Hawthorn

If you are a May baby your birth flowers are Lily-of-the-valley and Hawthorn. This post is about the Hawthorn, but if you haven’t already seen my earlier post about Lily-of-the-Valley, you can read it hereHawthorn is a flowering shrub in the rose family with flowers that bloom in May in small white, red, or pink clusters. Small berries, called haws, sprout after the flowers. The fruit is an important winter food source for birds, and the thorny hawthorns also provide protective nesting areas safe from predators. The hawthorn is a longstanding symbol of hope.

Hawthorn are found in Europe and Asia, as well as North America. There are hundreds of species of Hawthorn, which are small, dense trees or shrubs that can grow up to 30 feet tall.

Hawthorn Meanings and Symbolism

  • Hawthorn have long been a symbol of hope. Other associations include its ability to mark the entrance to other worlds, with a strong connection to fairies.
  • Ancient Greeks were said to use its branches during wedding processions, while in Celtic lore, Hawthorn was thought to heal a broken heart.
  • According to Serbian lore, it was once believed that stakes made from Hawthorn could slay vampires.
  • Hawthorn are associated with the pagan symbol of fertility.
  • It was once thought that bringing a hawthorn blossom inside would be followed by illness and death. During medieval times, the smell of Hawthorn blossom was associated with the Great Plague.
  • Many have believed that a Hawthorn’s bloom marked the point of change from spring to summer.

Hawthorn in History

  • The Hawthorn’s link to May Day is undeniable. For this reason, it has been customary to decorate the celebration with flowering Hawthorn branches, most notably in the form of May Day garlands.
  • In 1923, the white Hawthorn blossom was recognized as the state flower of Missouri.
  • Hawthorn has been used for medicinal purposes for years, including to treat heart and blood diseases, as well as chest pains, blood pressure issues, and high cholesterol. The majority of its medicinal value is found in its fruit pigments.
  • Hawthorn leaves and fruit are edible. When picked young, the leaves can be used in salads. The fruit can be eaten on its own or used to make jelly and wine.
  • The shrike—a type of bird—will impale its (already dead) prey onto a hawthorn’s thorn, allowing the bird to eat more comfortably.

I hope you enjoyed reading this post. You may now like to read this one about ‘Some Foods In Season During May’ which also has some recipe suggestions – see here

All the best Jan


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