May blossom - Fact and fiction

By Paul Hervey-Brookes, May 30

May blossom - Fact and fiction

May is the common name for the Hawthorn blossom which brings good luck when it is used outdoors and bad luck when cut and brought indoors. To the Greeks, the May was a flower of great fortune and a symbol of luck to newly weds. It was strewn at the altar, worn in headdresses and made into torches for the nuptial chamber.

The Welsh goddess Olwen walked the empty universe and the hawthorn petals left in her wake became the Milky Way. Apparently, sleeping next to a flowering Hawthorn indoors during May would bring great misfortune. Breton legend says Merlin lies in an enchanted sleep in the shade of a hawthorn.

Before the Reformation, Roman Catholics placed sprigs of May in their windows to indicate that a priest would be saying mass.

Hawthorn is the state flower of Missouri. The blossom smells like rotting meat, a smell associated with the Black Death.

In contrast, May blossom can be drunk as a tonic tea that has beneficial effects on the heart and circulation!

Most famous is the Glastonbury Hawthorn derived from the staff of Joseph of Arimathea that he struck into the ground at Wearyall Hill where it at once burst into flower...

Perhaps you have some more interesting info on this beautiful blossom? Share it with us!


Paul has his own highly successful landscape design business, and has also designed a range of gardening gifts for Marks and Spencers.

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