ROSE FAMILY - Rosaceae: Common Hawthorn; White Thorn; Scarlet-fruited Thorn; Red Haw; Mayflower

Crataegus coccinea

Flowers--White, rarely pinkish, usually less than 1 in. across, numerous, in terminal corymbs. Calyx 5-lobed; 5 spreading petals inserted in its throat; numerous stamens; styles 3 to 5. Stem: A shrub or small tree, rarely attaining 30 ft. in height (Kratos = strength, in reference to hardness and toughness of the wood); branches spreading, and beset with stout spines (thorns) nearly 2 in. long. Leaves: Alternate, petioled, 2 to 3 in. long, ovate, very sharply cut or lobed, the teeth glandular-tipped. Fruit: Coral red, round or oval; not edible.

Preferred Habitat--Thickets, fence-rows, woodland borders.

Flowering Season--May.

Distribution--Newfoundland and Manitoba southward to the Gulf of Mexico.

  "The fair maid who, the first of May,
  Goes to the fields at break of day
  And washes in dew from the hawthorn tree
  Will ever after handsome be."

Here is a popular recipe omitted from that volume of heart-to-heart talks entitled "How to Be Pretty Though Plain!"

The sombre-thoughted Scotchman, looking for trouble, tersely observes:

  "Mony haws,
  Mony snaws."

But in delicious, blossoming May, when the joy of living fairly intoxicates one, and every bird's throat is swelling with happy music, who but a Calvinist would croak dismal prophecies? In Ireland, old crones tell marvellous tales about the hawthorns, and the banshees which have a predilection for them.