Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna)
The native Hawthorn can be found all around the UK, from urban areas, parkland to rural landscapes and woodland, making excellent deciduous hedging and distinctly recognisable trees that can’t be missed. Steeped in myth and legend, the Hawthorn provides homes and food for wildlife and is also full of medicinal value to humans. Hawthorn spring blossoms and autumn berries are so pretty and bring such an abundance to the landscape. In mythology, the hawthorn is the fairy tree, considered to be one where fairies live and a portal to the underworld. If you believe in the world of magic and fairytale, you won’t want to cut a Hawthorn down - rumour has it you will then be doomed. The good news is, picking some of the berries and flowers will do you the world of good! Great for circulation, heart health and high blood pressure, the berries contain vitamins, antioxidants and anti inflammatory properties. You might even find some still hanging on in January waiting for you (don’t forget to leave some for the birds).
Find out how to grow Hawthorn and how to make a delicious Hawthorn berry tea in my monthly column for Grow Your Own Magazine.