English Hawthorn

English Hawthorn

Also known as - May bush, Mayflower, May tree, Quickset, Quick Thorn, Thorn-apple tree, Whitethorn, Haw, Ladies' Meat, May or May blossom.

The hawthorn grows as a shrub or a tree in England but is commonly grown as a hedge, as its thorny stems make it an ideal boundary hedge - to keep unwelcome visitors out of the garden and to keep in livestock.

Hawthorn superstitions and traditions

  • Hawthorn gives good luck and prosperity its owner - indeed if you look after your hawthorn tree well the fairies will grant you extra good fortune!
  • If you hang a sprig of hawthorn in the barn, this will make the dairy cows to give more milk.
  • A hawthorn sprig in the attic or rafters of a house will help to keep ghosts and evil spirits away.
  • Here is an unusual one - a hawthorn thorn kept in one's pocket while freshwater fishing guarantees a good catch.
  • A lone hawthorn tree on a hill, particularly if there is a spring or a well not far away, means that a doorway to the land of the fairies is nearby.
  • Hawthorn used to be used decorate May poles on Mayday celebrations as the blooms mean that summer is not far away.


    They are easy to grow being very hardy and they will tolerate windy and wet conditions, sun or partial shade, coastal conditions, clay soil or chalk.

    They have ash-grey bark, with small, shiny leaves that are dark green on top and a greenish-blue beneath.

    They are deciduous and have flower in May and June with fragrant white blossoms, followed by glossy dark red haws(berries) in the autumn.

    Grown as a hedge it will reach about 5 -10ft (1.5-3m) in height and only needs pruning back once a year.

    They are ideal hosts to encourage a wide range of wildlife – insects, birds and caterpillars of moths into your English garden.

    Enjoy your garden!

You Should Also Read:
English Garden Trees - Holly
English Garden Shrubs with berries

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