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Ogham Studies - Straif (Blackthorn)

Posted: 25 Nov 2006, 18:10
by Fitheach
Image
(U.C. Botanical Gardens, Berkeley, California)

One of my favorite trees, the incredible Blackthorn Tree, called Draighionn in Scots Gaelic.  

Please post your experiences, impressions, etc. with this awesome magical tree.

:straif:
Straif

The sinister Blackthorn,
Of the dark Moonless Night,
A weird, eerie tree, sworn
To put evil to flight.

A tree of dense thickets,
a strong boundary wall,
And sharp thorn pickets,
That prevail against all.

She dances the Dark
and magic she’ll weave,
For she is the Monarch
Of Samhain Eve.


http://www.susa-morgan-black.net/smb/Ar ... kthorn.pdf

Posted: 30 Jan 2007, 03:46
by Alferian
Hello Fitheach, my dear.  What a lovely photo.

I'm trying to get Astrocelt to harvest some blackthorn wands for me to carve.  He's in Gwynedd.  It interests me that there is a specimen blackthorn at the UC Berkeley botanical gardens.  Where would one go about procuring a blackthorn seedling to plant in one's garden?  Has blackthorn been introduced anywhere in North America?

I often use Plum as a close approsimate to blackthorn, a near relative.  A friend of mine was kind enough to give me some branches pruned from an old plum in his garden.  Very thorny and cantankerous wood.  I planted a tiny plum sapling in my front garden which I hope will eventually grow over our front walk, but I should very much like to grow blackthorn.  Any ideas?  Is there are black market among botanists?

Alferian

Posted: 30 Jan 2007, 04:09
by Fitheach
Hi, Alferian!

My favorite wand is the blackthorn you carved for me!  

We're growing blackthorns in our yard, and ordered them by catalogue from Oikos Tree Crops.  Their website is http://www.oikostreecrops.com
They list it as "Sloe Plum".  

"Sloe Plum
Dwarf growing shrub found throughout Europe. Widely used at one time for jellies, syrups, conserves, olives and flavoring for gin and herbal teas. Eaten fresh the fruit is very bitter. Sloe plum is the plant that is found in Irish folklore said to create good effects. Dense branching with lots of fruit spurs. Our Ecos strain is from the variety ‘Plena’ noted for its prolific flowering and fruit. Height 3-5 ft. Hardiness -35°F."

Posted: 01 Feb 2007, 19:01
by Alferian
Thank you my dear!

I've ordered two.  I also ordered a holly and one called "Scarlet Firethorn" because I couldn't resist the name!  What fun!  New little plants to keep me happy until the ground thaws.

Alferian

Posted: 02 Feb 2007, 00:51
by Fitheach
I'm sure your nursery will do very well!  California is a bit dry for native British plants.

Posted: 02 Feb 2007, 01:20
by Beith
aha! but they love the wine Susa...they love the wine!

smiles,
Beith

Posted: 02 Feb 2007, 01:35
by Fitheach
You mean I should offer my trees wine instead of water???  Okaaay. :blink:

Posted: 12 Apr 2007, 23:13
by Dryadia2

Re: Ogham Studies - Straif (Blackthorn)

Posted: 08 Dec 2010, 11:41
by Serpentia
What a wonderful plant!! It must be all over this place, I'm familiar with its name and its berries (if you have the chance to try liquor made from them.. in German called "Schlehenlikör", do it!) but I would never have recognized it! I just never thought about it, honestly...

In spring, I will certainly look for its white blossoms and until then, enjoy the preserves. "Schlehdorn", one of its many names in German, is quite popular in the health food crowd.

What a fascinating tree, but not many stories for it in Germany.

Serpentia

Re: Ogham Studies - Straif (Blackthorn)

Posted: 08 Dec 2010, 12:52
by D'Arzhur
I was standing in front of my edge this summer looking at the Hawthorn when I suddently noticed the Blackthorn in the middle... :o
A real treat encounter for an Ovate on an Ogam search :grin:
Got to look for that "Schlehenlikör" now... I wonder if the Dutch and the French also make their own :where:

Re: Ogham Studies - Straif (Blackthorn)

Posted: 08 Dec 2010, 13:56
by DaRC
In the UK it is famous - Sloe Gin but I hate gin :x so I make Sloe Vodka:

300g Sloes
the old advice was to pick them after the first frost as this makes the sloes sweeter - but failing that put the picked sloes in the fridge overnight
150g Sugar
70cl Vodka

Prick the Sloes and pop them into a bottle, pour the sugar in and cover with the vodka.
Turn/shake the bottle every day until the sugar has dissolved - then shake once a week.
Leave for a minimum of 6 weeks, I usually bottle by Samhuin and start drinking at Yule, but the longer you leave it the deeper and spicier the flavour.

Also the Shillelagh was traditionally made of Blackthorn - I always think of the English word Strife (as in Trouble & Strife) when I see Straif
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shillelagh_%28club%29

The thorns themselves are long and as hard as nails they are one of the main culprits for punctures on my MTB.

Re: Ogham Studies - Straif (Blackthorn)

Posted: 08 Dec 2010, 16:37
by Huathe
I would probably love Blackthorn. This one I don't think I have ever seen.

Re: Ogham Studies - Straif (Blackthorn)

Posted: 09 Dec 2010, 11:11
by Serpentia
James, is that a first? Guess after you have shown me around Congaree, you will have to come to Glastonbury for one of those wonderful OBOD gatherings. Lots of black and white thorns there!

:shake:

Re: Ogham Studies - Straif (Blackthorn)

Posted: 09 Dec 2010, 11:45
by D'Arzhur
Thanks for the recipe Darc! :grin:

Re: Ogham Studies - Straif (Blackthorn)

Posted: 09 Dec 2010, 16:53
by Huathe
Serpentia wrote:James, is that a first? Guess after you have shown me around Congaree, you will have to come to Glastonbury for one of those wonderful OBOD gatherings. Lots of black and white thorns there!

:shake:

I will have to consult ENTS on where to find Blackthorn here in the US, still, I would love to go to Glastonbury to the OBOD gathering. I bet it is awesome!

:straif:

Re: Ogham Studies - Straif (Blackthorn)

Posted: 16 Jun 2011, 21:01
by Lily
DaRC wrote:300g Sloes
150g Sugar
70cl Vodka

Prick the Sloes and pop them into a bottle, pour the sugar in and cover with the vodka
I made it with gin - you don't taste the gin anymore later. Vodka version was too "ethanolic" for me.
Leaving it to steep for a long time brings the bitter almond flavor from the pits out.


just trying a 7 month old dram of it :whistle: