"Ne'er cast a clout 'til May is out!" 'May is the country name for Hawthorn, not surprisingly because it blossoms in May. Unlike many flowers that will blossom as the days lengthen (increased light of course) the Hawthorn can come in to flower any time in May, occasionally even as early as late April; it seems to depend on the weather. Hawthorn seems to flower early in warm a spring but later in poor years and I guess that is how it came to become a country weather guide.
Like Blackthorn, Hawthorn is a member of the Rose family and has white, five petalled flowers. On Blackthorn the flowers come before the leaves, on Hawthorn the leaves come before the flowers. Blackthorn flowers first and as it fades so Hawthorn steps in to keep our hedgerows shining white.
Common across the county, Hawthorn can be seen almost anywhere from town parks to country hedgerows. In autumn, those flowers will have turned to the red berries we know as \'haws\'; probably one of the most noticeable of autumn berries along the hedgerows. The berries start bright red and gradually deepen to dark red before withering away. Popular with Redwing and Fieldfare and the Thrush family in general, haws are an important winter food source for many creatures. There is the odd belief that a good crop of haws means its going to be hard a winter when what it really means is we had a good spring and lots of the flowers were pollinated.