Plant Wisdom: Hawthorn

Image: Maia Toll's Herbiary

The plant which revealed itself for today's Plant Wisdom blog post is Hawthorn (Crataegus oxyacanthides/Crataegus species), sometimes known as Mayflower due to the flowering around May Day, heralding the coming of summer. Her pretty white flowers have an incredible, heady scent that is hard to describe until you have caught a drift of it on the wind and then it is unforgettable, and it is often an acquired taste. To me, it is sweet and musky - an unmistakable potent femininity. Personally, I love it.

In Celtic traditions, Beltane festivals were held on the first day of the first bloom of Hawthorn and it was used to decorate maypoles, connected with fertility and passion. In Irish traditions, it is thought that the trunk of a singular Hawthorn tree was a portal to the Fairie realm. Hawthorn adorns hedgerows and parks, standing unabashedly strong in her beauty and bringing a sense of confidence and connection to her environment.

Hawthorn in Queens Park, southside of Glasgow. Copyright © A Doran and Flourish

Common Uses

It is the red berries of Crataegus oxyacanthides which are commonly used for medicinal purposes, a gentle remedy for the heart and circulation, helping with fatigue, palpitations and laboured breathing. Hawthorn also helps to reduce irritability, making it possible for recuperation, rest and healing to take place. Hawthorn is an adaptogen, encouraging our bodies to adapt to a state of balance, working with our bodies for what is best for us, whether this is either stimulating or slowing the heartbeat, .

Spirit Medicine

I have always admired Hawthorn. She stands tall and proud wherever she grows. While her flowers are a magnificent show, she is not showy - she has no need when she has the strength and confidence of herself - and she is always solid and dependable, generously sharing the essence of herself, waving her arching branches in the breeze, calling us toward her beguiling fragrance and medicinal fruits. She encourages us towards stability, to be grounded in ourselves with strong and sharing hearts. She is anchored in the Earth, wherever this may be, deeply content to serve her purpose and share her gifts.


This post is intended for information purposes only and not medical advice - please visit the terms page for more details . Please seek advice from a medical professional and, if you are considering herbal medicine, please consult a professional Herbalist.

Related Links

Plant Oracle Cartomancy

Phyto, Olfacto and Aroma Therapy

About Andrea, Flourish's Holistic Medicine Specialist

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Copyright © Andrea Doran, Flourish and Contributors - Original Date of Publication May 2018 | For personal use and information only

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