Hawthorn is also known as Mary's Berry (May). The Crataegus Oxyacantha praecox variety is the plant of England's "Glastonbury Thorn" -- a plant of Mediterranean origin but which, in Somerset, blooms twice: at Easter and at Christmas. It, therefore, has become a symbol of Christmas. The Glastonbury Thorn is said to have arisen when St. Joseph of Arimathea thrust his hawthorn staff into the ground in Somersetshire. The original plant was destroyed by Puritans (the soldier who did the chopping is said to have been struck in the eye by a large splinter from the tree), but shoots from it were taken, and England's Glastonbury Thorn lives. Since 1929, blossoms from the Glastonbury Thorn are sent to England's Monarchs for their table on Christmas Day.
From Mary Gardens