The Hawthorn: Mystic Powers or Sensible Shrub?

Don’t invite any pale, suspicious visitors in after dark

Do you have a vampire problem? Are the undead knocking at your door, trying desperately to get in? Never fear! There are ways to discourage this ancient beast from bothering you.

Plant a Hawthorn at your door, a vampire shall visit nevermore!

Stake anyone?

The Merits of Hawthorns

The prickly Hawthorn tree (or shrub) has long been held as a must-have item in any anti-vampire kit. Serbians and Croatians felt it was the mandatory wood for any stakes to be pounded into a vampire’s heart. Interesting that modern science is studying Crataegus for its potential benefits in chronic heart failure. Perhaps those old Eastern Europeans knew a thing or two before their day?

Our North American ancestors might have done some reading on the properties of Hawthorns as well. With some species being resistant to rot and very hard, it made for good fence posts and tool handles, in addition to a handy vampire slaying accoutrement.

Entrance to the Faery Realm?

Wonder what Gaelic folk thought of that, as they thought pretty highly of Hawthorns as well. They believed that “May Trees” marked the entrance to the faery realm. Also Otherworldly, but not quite as malevolent as the other side of the pond’s interpretation. If it guards wells and springs, helps prayers get to heaven, cleans the heart of negativity, and stimulates love and forgiveness, it should be welcome at anyone’s door, I would think. The Celts even used Hawthorns for their Maypoles!

Except our undead friends. Not high in their books of friendly materials. They also aren’t especially fond of wild roses, garlic or mirrors, so why not add a few of those items to your garden too? The good news is that many Hawthorn species are even native to Ontario. ReForest London suggests these;

Cockspur Hawthorn – Crataegus crus-galli
Dotted Hawthorn – Crataegus punctata
Downy Hawthorn – Crataegus mollis
Fleshy Hawthorn – Crataegus succulenta
Pear Hawthorn – Crataegus calpodendron
Round-leaved Hawthorn – Crataegus chrysocarpa

Common Hawthorn, also known as Whitethorn

Common Hawthorn

Not only do they get the seal of approval to plant right here in London, but you also get the benefit of beautiful flowers in the spring, attractive foliage in the summer, berries and vibrant leaves in the fall, and plenty of wildlife attracted to it for food and shelter. Just watch out for its thorns, or else you might be shrieking like a medieval ghoul, struck down by a silver bullet, holy water or dreaded hawthorn stake to the heart…

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Published by
July 17, 2013 10:22 am