I never used to be overly keen on the hawthorn, as far as trees went. As a child I found it wasn’t really one to climb due to its thorny branches, in bush form they made impenetrable boundaries across the countryside that often thwarted my journeys everywhere I went, oh the obstacles! Why have thorns? It’s not as if it had anything worth stealing…or so I thought.
As I have grown older so has my appreciation for the humble hawthorn. When thinking about it, three uses spring to mind: year round it has excellent firewood, when it burns it gives off enough heat to melt raw (pig) iron. In spring it’s leaves (often the first of all leaves to appear) are a useful addition to any meal. The third is its berries which form in bright red clusters come autumn and have some rather strange properties.
So other than being employed as a primitive barbed wire fence, what makes the hawthorn useful as part of the wild larder?