Though it's the middle of winter here in the Rocky Mountains, and we're trudging through the snow, I've found my first new plant friend!
I decided to head on down to the mailbox the other day after our 2nd snowstorm and passed by a tree I hadn't noticed before. In passing I noted the MASSIVE thorns adorning this snow draped tree. "Wow, look at those thorns!" I said, then a little voice inside whispered "look closer..." There were dessicated red fruits hanging from the branches, partly obscured by the snow, and this little tree jumped out at me and waved, "Hello, welcome to your new Home. I'm Hawthorne!"
Hawthorne (Crateagus spp) is a lovely cardiovascular and heart tonic herb- hawthorn berry jam, or leaf and flower tea are a delicious sweet treat, that I've only used sporadically myself, though have reccomended to others quite often. I began drinking the tea of leaves and flowers just before leaving Tucson as I was trying to pare down my herb stores. I only had a small amount of the dry herb so drank it for a few days. I was truly delighted with sweet floral flavor and the gentle heart opening energy she imparted.
As much as I dislike reccomending herbs that I dont have much personal experience with, or haven't really gotten to know in person, hawthorne has been one of those plants for me. Being that she didn't grow in the desert climate I called home, I'd only seen a hawthorne tree once that I can be sure of, and I hadn't spent any time with her. I also endeavor not to use too much of a plant that doesn't grow in my local environment. So as a southwestern herbalist, I tried to use southwestern plants as much as possible. All this led to an unfamiliarity with the spirit and essence of hawthorne, even though I had learned her uses as a medicine/food. I'm so looking foward to getting to know hawthorne through the coming seasons, leaf buds in early spring, flowers and leaves later in early summer, and possibly even fruits come next fall. There are still fruits on the tree from last season, but not many, and I'm inclined to just sit with her for a while before I start harvesting.
It's not the first time I've happened upon an unfamiliar plant, and had that plant speak directly to my inner knowing, and tell me it's name. If you keep your heart open, and your eyes observant, you'll find the plants may be talking to you too.
I know that there will be many new plants to get to know here, but I'm so happy that Hawthorne introduced herself to me, so I could begin getting to know her while most of the other herbs and plants are taking their winter naps.