The hawthorn tree is a species with many varieties and subspecies. Because it is easily hybridized, it is now found just about everywhere around the world.
Usually grown for ornamental purposes, the hawthorn tree has gorgeous leaves, berries, and branches. It can grow up to 45 feet tall.
If you love gardening and landscaping, you probably already know this. However, did you know that the hawthorn tree (and the flowers that it produces) have some deep symbolic meaning? Here’s what you need to know about this elegant specimen.
What Does Hawthorn Mean?
The scientific name for hawthorn is Crataegus rhipidophylla. This word is derived from the Greek word kratos, which means strength, and the word akis, which means sharp.
The tree is named as such because the wood is strong and the wood is sharp. The common name is derived from the Old English term haw, which means hedge, but it can also apply to the fruits.
What Do Hawthorn Flowers Symbolize?
Hawthorn trees and hawthorn flowers are often viewed as s symbols of love – and not just romantic love, either. These plants signify the need to love everyone and everything that for me is in our lives. You never know who may play a role or have a greater purpose in your life’s path.
The trees are also viewed as symbols of beauty, which is likely not surprising if you’ve ever seen one of these beautiful plants in full bloom. They are often grown specifically as ornamental trees and can add a lot of elegance to your home.
Some people view hawthorn trees as symbols of the ability to express yourself in a unique, outstanding way. Others view the trees as symbols of our ability to express ourselves in a unique way, or as a symbol of protection.
Why this last bit of symbolism? Hawthorn trees have small thorns that they use to protect themselves from other threats. Many people, therefore, view the trees as symbolic of the need to stay protected at all costs.
Finally, the hawthorn tree is often viewed as a symbol of fertility. It produces leaves, fruits, and flowers in ready supply, with the fruits in particular known for being edible and very nutritious.
The list of symbolic meanings does not end there. Hawthorn trees and flowers are often viewed as symbols of abundance and longevity, too. In fact, hawthorn trees can live up to 400 years when cared for properly – so this last meaning makes a lot of sense!
Fun fact: Did you know that hawthorn is also a Birth Flower of May?
What is the Cultural Significance of a Hawthorn?
Hawthorn trees have been used as food for animals as well as for medicinal purposes for several thousand years. In Celtic culture, the tree is particularly prized. It is viewed by these people as a symbol of love and protection, along with many other things.
It was also highly regarded for its association with a certain festival that is celebrated in the spring – Beltane.
Hawthorn trees are often referred to as Fairy Trees because it was once believed that the trees could house fairies. Therefore, the trees were shown great care and respect in deference to these fairies.
In Chrisitan tradition, the hawthorn is representative of the struggles that the church had in suppressing pagan beliefs.
What is the Symbolism of a Hawthorn Tattoo?
Hawthorn tattoos are unusual, but incredibly beautiful. Usually, these flowers are used to symbolize positive themes like happiness, optimism, and contentment. They are usually thought of as feminine tattoos and can represent undying wisdom.
When Should You Give Someone a Hawthorn Flower?
The hawthorn tree is a plant that is appropriate for any occasion, but if you give a flower, it won’t live for very long when it’s separated from the tree. You would be better off giving someone a full hawthorn tree so they will have a never-ending supply of flowers instead!
As a small tree with plenty of foliage and flowers, the tree is best given as a live plant to those that you care most deeply about. The tree is known for its longevity and can easily live for several hundred years. Give someone a hawthorn tree, and you’ll be giving them a gift that will last a lifetime.
Image by Raydar/depositphotos