hawthorn flower meaning

Hawthorn Tree Flower Meaning and Unique Symbolism

Sharing is caring!

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 where it grows naturally in the Northern Hemisphere.

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 is the Hawthorn Flower Meaning?

Curious about what the word hawthorn means?

The scientific name for hawthorn is Crataegus rhipidophylla with related members being Crataegus monogyna (the common hawthorn) and Crataegus laevigata. This word is derived from the Greek word kratos, which means strength, and the word akis, which means sharp. 

This tree is technically a member of the rose family, a member of the genus Crataegus. Believe it or not, it’s also distantly related to calla lilies.

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 tree branch

Hawthorn blossoms 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. 

Hawthorn sprigs 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 the hawthorn blossom as a symbol 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. These are sacred trees that were once believed to have lots of medicinal properties.

Hawthorn flowers were once believed to have the ability to treat heart palpitations, reduce blood pressure, and address cardiac rhythm disorders. A common herbal medicine, this natural remedy was commonly used in places like North Africa. Its flowers served as a mild sedative and were believed to help heal sore throats and give the user a sense of youthful vitality as well!

Of course, the tree was also prized for its sturdy wood, with hawthorn branches and lumber used in all kinds of projects.

The list of symbolic meanings does not end there. The hawthorn blossom is often viewed as a symbol 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?

Hawthorn is May flower

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!

It’s important to note that the hawthorn flower is the birth flower for May. Sometimes referred to as the May tree, the hawthorn produces those beautiful flowers that are great for giving to someone born in May who appreciates the symbolism of birth flowers like this.

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

Scroll to Top