19 Nov 2008 • 1,030 views
This native tree is often used as a hedging plant because it has thick, short spines on the stems. It also looks beautiful in the spring when it's covered with flowers - "May Blossom". In the autumn the flowers have developed into these fruits which provide a valuable food resource for wildlife.
Packed full of folklore, the flowers are not meant to be brought into the house because they're swiftly followed by sickness and death - the scent was likened to The Plague
, later identified as trimethylamine, which is a gas given off decaying tissue.
Young leaves can be eaten raw, often called "bread and cheese" - something I remember doing when I was little. The flowers can be made into drinks, the fruit into jam or syrups, rich in vitamin C.The Glastonbury Thorn
is a variety of Hawthorn, it flowers very early. Legend tells that it grew from Joseph of Arimathea's staff, which he pushed into the ground on the Wearyall Hill, near the Tor, while preaching there on Christmas Day. Apparently it still flowers on January 5th - the equivalent day since the calendar was changed in 1752. The original Glastonbury Thorn was chopped down by Puritans, luckily some cuttings were taken and plants grown elsewhere. There's one at Brickenden
that flowers on cue each year..