H is for Hawthorn

This is my post for the letter H in the Blogging from A to Z in April Challenge.  My theme is plants.

The hawthorn is a hardy tree.  It is useful for hedges, but grows quickly needing regular pruning.  As its name suggests it has thorns – long sharp ones.  Its berries are called haws, often being mentioned in the same breath as rosehips – “hips and haws”.  Another name for it is May, because it flowers in the month with that name.  In 2015 it flowered a little late.  My photo was taken on 4th June.

Hawthorn blossom
Hawthorn blossom

Anyone claiming to have seen it in flower in March has almost certainly been looking at blackthorn, which also grows in hedgerows and has white blossom.  Hawthorn blossom appears soon after the leaves, whereas blackthorn flowers before the leaves appear.  The fruit of the blackthorn is the sloe used in sloe gin.

Usually hawthorn blossom is white, although some pink-flowered varieties also exist.

Hawthorn berries
Hawthorn berries

The berries attract birds, which feed on them in autumn and winter.

There are very short posts on Sue’s Trifles for the A to Z in April Challenge.