Hawthorn trees

The Irish Times - Weekend Review - - OUTDOORS - SYLVIA THOMP­SON

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

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