This species of tree has many religious, superstitious and occult connotations throughout Europe and the Middle East. Indigo Herbs has an affinity with the Hawthorn since in Glastonbury it is said Joseph of Arimathea pushed his staff into the ground on Wearyall Hill which then burst into life, growing into a thorn tree which unusually flowers twice a year - once in May and then again at Christmas.
Within Pagan and Christian legend the Hawthorn holds a position of significance. This is primarily because many pagan traditions and superstitions carried over into Christian belief when Christianity rooted in Europe. In Ireland the Hawthorn is associated with fairies and is held to be one of the three sacred trees; the other two being Oak and Ash. Solitary Hawthorn bushes are thought to be under the protection or homes to fairies. It is very bad luck to cut down a Hawthorn tree in Ireland which is why you might see solitary Hawthorns growing in open fields. For the Greeks and Romans the Hawthorn was a symbol of fertility featuring heavily in marriage ceremonies. The Romans would use Hawthorn sprigs to ward off evil from their homes which is also a common folklore in Ireland and Britain. Other superstitions include farmers hanging Hawthorn branches in their barns so their cows give better milk, and fishermen carrying a thorn of Hawthorn when casting for fish to increase their chances of a good catch.
The Hawthorn comes in many species and variants throughout Europe, North America and Northern Asia. These trees belong to the Rosaceae family and can come in various sizes with a multitude of different leaf variations. Flowers can be white, pink, red or a mixture of all three. The berries are used throughout the world as a compliment to cooking, most notably in China and Korea, and have a very tart taste.