Encyclopedia of Vampire Mythology

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HAWTHORN

(HAW-thorn)
Variations: Bread and Cheese Tree, Crataegus
oxyacantha, Gaxels, Hagthorn, Ladies' Meat, Mayblossom, Mayflower, Quickset, Sceach, Thorn-Apple, Tree of Chastity, White Hawthorn
With its short trunk, dense reddish leaves, thorned branches, and distinctive white blossoms, the hawthorn shrub is a native of Northern Europe. Its durable, hard, and heavy wood makes it a perfect and natural weapon to be used for the staking of vampires. Hawthorn is considered to be a sacred plant as it was said in the medieval period that not only was it the burning bush of Moses but also that it was used to make the crown of thorns for Christ. For these reasons hawthorn is the preferred wood used for funeral pyres as well, as its smoke carries the souls of the dead quickly to the afterlife.
Source: Barber, Vampires, Burial and Death, 72; McClelland, Slayers and Their Vampires, 109; Summers, Vampire in Lore and Legend, 16; Taylor, Death and the Afterlife, 385, 393
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