The hedgerows are currently bursting with the spell-binding, thorny white and pink blossom that is Hawthorn. Offering masses of pollen-rich spring flowers, these shrubs and trees provide immense food and shelter for a range of wildlife.
As well as their delicate beauty and sweet scent, Hawthorns are hermaphrodite, meaning both male and female productive parts are contained within each flower. They develop into red fruits know as 'haws' when pollinated, which provide rich antioxidants for migrating birds. They also contain flavonoids, tannins, essential oils, fruit acids and sugars, plus vitamin B and C. It's commonly recommended in herbal medicine as nutrition for the heart.
The haw berries are commonly used to make jellies, wines and sauces. The young leaves and flowers are also edible and can be added raw to salads. Honeybees that forage on hawthorn blossoms also create the most delicious amber and nutty kind of honey.
A common name for Hawthorn is also May tree, making it a happy sign that spring is turning to summer. Happy days :)