Tuesday, May 7, 2013


In some accounts,
Common Hawthorn, crataegus monogyna,
is considered to be the flower of May
instead of lilies-of-the-valley.
This is according to Wikipedia.org.
One of the reasons is likely the hawthorn's nicknames 
of may blossom or may thorn.
It's also sometimes called haw or white thorn.
Of course, it blooms in May, 
and its blossom is the official state flower of Missouri.

File:Common hawthorn flowers.jpg

Common hawthorn doesn't have the gentle grace of the lily-of-the-valley,
but it does have a pretty white flower and attractive scalloped edges on its leaves.
And it has bright red fruit that attracts song birds like robins.

File:Hawthorn fruit.JPG

Margaret Grieve, in her "A Modern Herbal"
published online by Botanical.com, wrote that country folk
believed the hawthorn genus crataegus oxyantha still bore the odors of the Plague.
(Remind me to avoid that genus.)
Grieve also said the shrub was once considered sacred 
because legend said the crown of thorns came from a hawthorn shrub.

File:Eenstijlige meidoorn (Crataegus monogyna branch).jpg
The thorns are visible in this photo from en.wikipedia.org

Although primarily known for its prevalence--
it's become invasive in some regions--
the hawthorn is also known for its longevity.
One of the oldest hawthorn trees is said to have been growing 
since the 3rd century in Saint Mars sur la Futaie, Mayenne in France.

File:Hawthorn St Mars 2.jpg
Hawthorn of St. Mars. Photo, en.wikipedia.org

History, mystery, beauty--I guess those things could
justify the hawthorn blossom as an alternate flower for May.

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