One of Nature’s Mysteries to Solve

Beautiful mystery, aren’t they? We grabbed these photos before the Hawthorn tree leafed out so the thorns stood out.

Also called the thornapple, hawberry and May-tree, because of course it blooms in May–right now!

The bees are abuzz over it, fighting many other insects for the pleasure. We squirrels will stand clear until fall–then we can’t resist the little ‘pomes,’ the fruit, the hawthorn grows–and then we will be fighting the cardinals and cedar waxwings!

Humans have long noticed this tree, of which some species stay shrubby. The blossoms are thought to bring fortune, and for the Greeks, hope. They carried flowering branches in their wedding precessions. But our wildly variable weather here in Virginia this year makes this Scottish saying true: “Ne’er cast a cloot til Mey’s oot.” Never shed your clothes before the May flowers (Hawthorn!) have bloomed.



Here’s one crop of fruits Nutmeg and I will not be collecting.

There are native and ornamental Hawthorns—of the Crataegus genus, Miz Flora had time to tell me—but they are too confusing to tell apart for us squirrels. And why bother? As the name states, we can’t get to them with these thorns.

This is a crop the songbirds, in particular Northern Cardinals, will feed on in the dead of winter. Hmm, I bet it’s one of those that tastes better after frozen.