Hawthorn hedgerow

And so into October, the eighth month of the old ten-month Roman calendar. Eventually, they cottoned on that having 60 days of winter “monthless” wasn’t such a good ideal so January and February were added and October became the tenth month. And one of the delights of October is that the countryside still retains some rich colours. This hedgerow below Roseberry Topping is profuse with bright red hawthorn berries. Although its berries, known as haws, are edible the hawthorn tree is often associated with death, probably because during the spring its flowers secrete trimethylamine, a chemical given off early in putrefaction thereby attracting flies that pollinate the flowers. If you can ignore this knowledge there are plenty of recipes for hawthorn jams and jellies, rich in vitamin C. But of course, don’t chomp on the tiny seeds as they contain cyanide. Perhaps haws are best left to the birds as a valuable winter food supply.
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