3. Hawthorn (Crataegnus monogyna)

What3Words reference: animal.jeeps.crisis

Location notes: in hedge by corner of tarmac path by school playing field and informal cut through to park. There are several hawthorn trees in this hedge (and also along Manor Farm Road perimeter)

Mature trees can reach a height of 15m with a single stem but hawthorns are often grown as hedges. Manor Farm Road along Riverside Park has a mixed hedge of hawthorn and blackthorn. (Prunus spinosa)

The twigs are covered in long thorns. The leaves are small and are often some of the first to come out in spring. Called May blossom, hawthorn has an explosion of pretty white or sometimes pink highly scented flowers with five petals. The deep-red fruits are known as haws.  In wartime they were collected to make a syrup full of vitamin C.

Common hawthorn can support more than 300 insects AND the dense thorny foliage makes a fantastic nesting shelter for many species of bird.

Hawthorn is a pagan symbol of fertility  though it is said to be unlucky to bring the blossom inside. People say “Ne’er cast a clout ere May is out”

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