NAME : HAWTHORN
GAELIC NAME : SCEACH
LATIN NAME : Crataegus oxyacantha.
COMMON / FOLK NAMES : English
Bread and Cheese Tree
Tree of Chastity
MEDICINAL PART : Flowers
PLACES OF ORIGIN : Ireland
Mountainous regions. Damp limey soils.
DESCRIPTION : The hawthorn grows as either a shrub or a tree in Ireland &
Europe. In Ireland & England it is widely grown as a hedge plant. It trunk or stems
have hard wood, smooth and ash-gray bark, and thorny branches. The small, shiny leaves
are dark green on top, light bluish-green underneath, and have three irregularly toothed
FLOWERING PERIOD : The white flowers have round petals and grow in terminal
corymbs during May and June. The fruit, or haw, is a 2- to 3-seeded, fleshy pome, scarlet
on the outside, yellowish and pulpy on the inside.
PROPERTIES : Antispasmodic
Hawthorn was once used to decorate May poles. At one time hawthorns were
believed to be Witches who had transformed themselves into trees. Witches have long danced
and performed their rites beneath the thorn.
Hawthorn has long been used to increase fertility. Because of this
power it is incorporated into weddings, especially those performed in the spring.
Call on the Goddess Áine or the Goddess Brigit while holding a hawthorn branch
or wand of hawthorn to increase fertility.
Fishermen should carry some hawthorn
and call on the Gods Manannan and Lír if fishing at sea, or Nechtan if fishing
The leaves, curiously enough, are also used to enforce or maintain chastity or celibacy.
The leaves are placed beneath the mattress or around the bedroom for this purpose.
Worn or carried
it promotes happiness in the troubled, depressed, or sad. Call on the
Goddess Grian to bring some sunshine and happiness into your life.
Hawthorn protects against lightning, and in the house in which it resides, no evil ghosts
may enter. It is also powerful for protecting against damage to the house from storms.
In the past most Witch's gardens contained at least one Hawthorn hedge.
Care must be taken to propitiate the
tree itself before removing any branches. It is important not to damage
the tree and certain sacred trees should not be disturbed at all, lest their
guardian spirits become angered.
Hawthorn trees standing alone should be
avoided. Take parts only from trees that are part of boundary hedges.
The Hawthorn is sacred to the fairies, and is part of the
fairy-tree triad of IRELAND and Britain: 'Oak, Ash and Thorn,' and where all three trees grow
together it is said that one may see fairies.
Myths & Legends associated with Hawthorn
Gablach - Brehon