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Reddish Vale Country Park

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Crataegus (Hawthorn) is a large genus of shrubs and trees in the family Rosaceae.

 

They are shrubs and small trees growing to 5-15m tall, characterized by their small pome fruit and thorny branches.

The fruits are sometimes known as "haws", from which the name derives.

 

The common hawthorn is extensively used in Europe as a hedge plant.

 

The hawthorn has been regarded as the emblem of hope, and its branches are stated to have been carried by the ancient Greeks in wedding processions, and to have been used by them to deck the alter of Hymenaios.

 

The supposition that the tree was the source of Jesus's crown of thorns gave rise to the tradition among French peasantry that it utters groans and cries on Good Friday, and probably also to the old popular superstition in Great Britain and Ireland that ill-luck attended the uprooting of hawthorns.

In Celtic lore, the hawthorn plant was used commonly for rune inscriptions along with yew and apple. It was once said to heal the broken heart.

 

The wood of some hawthorn species is very hard and resistant to rot. In rural North America it was prized for use as tool handles and fence posts.

 

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Hawthorn