Sunday, May 25, 2008

Hawthorn heaven

Sceach geal (Irish name), fairy bush, Mayflower, Hagthorn... all are names for the May flowering hawthorn, Crataegus monogyna.

Arriving home to Ireland from my Mom's a few days ago, I was thrilled at the sight of the hawthorns in bloom from the air. It was so unexpected, it was almost a shock to see them all with their white blossoms. When I left, it was still spring, now I come home to the start of summer.

The flowering of the hawthorns begins the warm season, the season of brightly lit evenings and early morning sunshine.

Everything is lush and green, frothy white trees, shrubs, and cow-parsley waving in the wind.

It is said that cattle kept within a field surrounded by hawthorn will thrive.

There are rows and rows of these white flowered trees everywhere, it makes the landscape quite magical for a few weeks.

Like entering a dreamworld almost...

In Celtic folklore, it is said that faeries inhabit these "May Trees". One must be careful not to pause too long under a hawthorn, or you could be transported into the land of fae for a few moments. On coming back to the land of mortals, time will have passed for several years.

I guess I better hop back on my bike, and move on, hm? Is it still 2008?

It is also said that it's bad luck to bring in the branches or flowers of the hawthorn into your home, as it will bring illness or death. Also, it's not a good idea to injure one or chop one down, for it will incur the wrath of the faerie folk who inhabit the tree.

If you tie a colored ribbon on a branch of a hawthorn, it will be viewed as a gift to the spirit, and will bring you luck. Yellow for friendship and happiness, red for love, green for wealth, and blue for health.

A pink hawthorn between two whites. Isn't it a beautiful sight?

I'm posting this for the June Festival of the Trees, hosted this month by Wrenaissance Reflections.


Blogger Squirrel said...

wow--stunning--is it my imagination or is everything more colorful, prettier and greener this year??? It was an extremely rainy March & April here and now we are seeing the results. Ireland is always breathtakingly beautiful, but I;m seeing prettier than ever pictures.

May 26, 2008 12:54 am  
Blogger Frances, said...

Thanks for showing the outline of hawthorns from the plane, and the swards of green in between are breathtaking. You must love coming home. We have a row of pyracantha along our city lot property line, is that close enough for the fairies to be happy here? Lots of thorns on them, red orange berries and very similar white flowers to the hawthorns. They bloomed more heavily than ever before this year, as everything seems to be doing, so wonderful.

Frances at Faire Garden

May 26, 2008 1:13 am  
Blogger Hedgewitch said...

I love this hawthorn post! Beautiful images and I love the folklore, too..

Particularly love that aerial shot of the hedgerows in bloom, spectacular :-)

May 26, 2008 11:32 am  
Blogger ICQB said...

We have a hawthorn in our backyard. My husband wants to cut it down. I told him to do so would incur the wrath of the fairies.

It was only after a tiny stray cat we took in died of congestive heart failure that I learned that hawthorn is good for ailing hearts. I don't think it would have helped our little kitty, though. There was a little bit of the fey about her, so she may well be one of the tree spirits now.

May 28, 2008 8:43 pm  
Blogger Annie in Austin said...

This is such a pretty photo essay, Silvia - it was fun to read about your hawthorns and see the photo from the plane window.

Some Texas friends told me about this native Hawthorn in East Texas which is called May Haw, picked for making jelly. I haven't seen the hawthorns in bloom, but was introduced to May Haw Jelly, so delicious it didn't last long! Is there edible fruit on your hawthorn trees?

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

May 29, 2008 2:13 am  
Blogger Salix Tree said...

Hi Annie,
Yes, these trees have berries, and I think they do make jelly out of them. Also, a drink called sloe gin. Neither of which I have ever tasted. I must try the jelly! But I don't like gin.. so... well, if I ever get a chance for one sip, I may try that too.

May 29, 2008 7:47 am  
Blogger XUE said...

beautiful flowers & wonderful pics! it's always nice to read all these interesting bits! I'm not sure if I've seen a Hawthorn yet but I'll try to remember your tales.

June 09, 2008 2:41 am  

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