Sometimes called the May bush because of the abundance of blossoms this month, whitethorn/hawthorn bushes fill the hedgerows of Ireland with simple creamy/white flowers at this time of year.
Traditionally, farmers brought the floral branches to their back doors on May Day, and superstition prevented them from cutting down lone hawthorn bushes (often called fairy trees or bishops’ bushes) in their fields.
Hawthorn blossoms are used to make tea and wine. Cyril and Kit O’Ceirin include a recipe for hawthorn blossom liqueur in their super book, Wild and Free – Cooking From Nature ( Wolf Hill Publishing). In the language of flowers, the hawthorn blossoms symbolise hope.
The hawthorn/whitethorn was originally introduced into hedgerows because its dense thorny branches acted as a good barrier to livestock. Nowadays, they are also highly valued as habitats and feeding grounds for many insect and bird species.
In the language of flowers, the hawthorn blossoms symbolise hope