(15) Hawthorn

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  • Species
    • Hawthorn
  • Botanical Name
    • Crataegus monogyna
  • Location
    • Opposite Garden Cottage in The Street
    • Grid Reference: TQ 14684, 56344
    • Latitude, Longitude: 51.294686, -0.35656001
    • What3Words: snake.intervals.icons
  • Identification
    • Hawthorn is a small, gnarled tree with densely packed spiney twigs that is often used as hedging, particularly as a barrier to animals. Hawthorn is the harbinger of summer and is also known as the May tree as this is the month when its creamy-white blossom covers hedgerows after the leaves have emerged, giving off a strong perfume. Like rowan and whitebeam, hawthorn has red oval fruits popular with birds, which deposit the seeds, enabling hawthorn to colonise roadside verges, wasteland and open fields. The seedlings will thrive anywhere as long as they are protected from grazing.
  • About this species
    • In recent years hawthorns have started to bloom earlier, in April. Their distinctly shaped leaves are often found in Green Man carvings in churches and inns. However, there were many superstitions against bringing hawthorn indoors.
  • Local information
    • Look out for several other hawthorns close by; some of them are pink flowering. "Thorncroft", the name of the former vineyard in Leatherhead, is recorded in the Doomsday Book, means a thorn edged enclosure. Hawthorn is associated with Pagan and Christian folklore and celebrations such as May Day. Oaths used to be sworn beneath particularly venerated thorn trees. Ancient hedges, usually containing hawthorn as a stock barrier, are often the oldest man-made thing in use.

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