Hawthorn is found mostly in Europe, eastern Asia and eastern North America and its use has been growing since the 1800's. In Britain, Hawthorn was an important part of many May festivals and was known as 'May flower'. In France, Hawthorn goes by the name "l'epine noble" (a noble thorn) from the belief that the crown of thorns worn by Christ was made of its branches.
Hawthorn is a member of the Rose family: rosaceae. It's a small, compact shrub-tree with white bark, hard wood, and sharp thorns. It produces small berries called "haws" which look like tiny apples or Rose Hips.