The Hawthorn is a tree of magical enchantment and is strongly associated with Beltane, the ancient festival celebrating spring. In Celtic mythology it is one of the most sacred trees and symbolises love and protection. It is also known as the Fairy Tree, as fairies live under the Hawthorn as its guardians, and so was treated with great respect and care. However, politely collecting Hawthorn sprigs and flowers was allowed, especially by brides, who wore Hawthorn blossom in their hair or bouquet to symbolise their union of love.
The Hawthorn is a small tree with an abundance of foliage, growing on its thorny branches, which is wonderful for garden birds to safely make ther nests. It is known for its longevity and can live over 400 years. In March the Hawthorn tree’s leaf-buds open and pale green leaves appear. These leaves are joined by masses of delicate white flower buds, which open in May to reveal blossoms with five white petals surrounding stamens with bright pink heads. Each flower produces a fruit, called a ‘Haw’ which appear in July and ripen in October resembling small bright red apples which are loved by our birds.