Since the time of the Ancient Greeks Hawthorn has been regarded as the emblem of hope, and popular superstition says that to uproot Hawthorn is to bring bad luck, as is to cut or trim it any other time than when it’s in bloom.
Gaelic folklore holds Hawthorn bushes to mark the entrance to the “otherworld” and so are closely associated with the world of faeries and spirits. In 13th century legend, Thomas of Erceldoune (Thomas the Rhymer) is drawn to a hawthorn bush by the magic of the Queen of Elphame (Fairy Queen) where he falls entranced by her beauty and is transported by her to the Faery Underworld where they are married and she bestows on Thomas the gift of prophecy. One attributed prophecy runs: “York was, London is, and Edinbruch ‘ill be, the biggest and the bonniest o’ a’ the three.”
Hawthorn is said to have formed Christ’s Crown of Thorns, and this is possibly the derivation of the bad luck association. The famous Holy Thorn of Glastonbury was hawthorn and is said to have flourished from the staff of Joseph of Arimathea.
More curiously, in Serbian and Croatian folklore the hawthorn is believed to be particularly deadly to vampires and is the material of choice for the vampire slayer’s wooden stake.