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Folklore Friday- Hawthorn.

That magical tree that guards the entrance to the fairy kingdom. Rumour has it that many an unsuspecting traveller has been lured into the fairy kingdoms near these gateways.

Hawthorn is also known as the May tree. Its blooms being the may blossom. They give off a heady scent and have long been used to adorn bridal bouquets. To take a small twig or bloom from the Hawthorn though you must ask permission from the wee folk or incur their wrath.

Damaging or cutting down a tree is likely to get you into the wee folks bad books. In the old days, and not that long ago, roads were diverted so that they would avoid damage to Hawthorn. Injury and death has reportedly befallen those who ignored the Taboo.

In the spring Hawthorn is a welcome sight.

The saying

ne'er cast a clout til the may is out,

refers to the fact that you should always carry a coat until the Hawthorn is flowering. Then it is truly spring.

Complimenting it's foamy display of off white flowers are the small delicate leaves. These start the season pale, soft, and edible, hardening and darkening as summer progresses. They are a wonderful plant for wildlife and in the autumn the berries are eaten by many birds, and make a vital C rich jelly. For years they were one of our most popular native hedging plants as the thorns discourage stock from pushing through.

Maybe next time you see one you can thank the fairies for looking after it

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