May’s flower of the month is the Hawthorn, a beautiful shrub or small tree that is sometimes referred to as the May Blossom. The Hawthorn botanical name is Crateagus and it is native
to Europe, North Africa, Mediterranean and western Asia. It is considered a sacred tree in some parts of the middle East as it is believed that the crown of thorns that Jesus wore during the crucifixion were from a hawthorn tree.
In May it blossoms small, white flowers that have a beautiful aroma and then in the autumn it produces red berries, called haws that are edible and are often used to make jams, jellies and wine.
The Hawthorn is a broadly spreading shrub or small tree and in spite of its exotic origins it is considered a very English tree, and an exceedingly beautiful one at that. ‘Haw’ is another word for hedge and these shrubs often edge a property and add a distinctive and lovely aspect to a boundary in any garden.
The bark of the Hawthorn is gray and the boughs of the tree are covered in thorns, like the rose bush it is a dangerous beauty. There are more than a 1000 different species of the Hawthorn and they have earned the name ‘quick set’ as they can be propagated by cuttings and seeds as well.
These trees have acquired a mystical characteristic due to their incredible longevity, in the right conditions they can last for hundreds of years; in fact the oldest known living specimen is said to be over 700 years old and is located in the United Kingdom in a churchyard near Norwich in Norfolk. So, if you plan on planting a Hawthorn tree in your garden you know that you will get a return on your investment, in fact the tree may out last your house.
Heavenly Hawthorn is beautiful, mystical and long lasting and that is why it is a magnificent addition to any garden.