HAWTHORN was a sacred tree long before Christian tradition associated it with the Crown of Thorns, but that tradition gave rise to the belief in the holy powers of the wood - rosaries of thorn wood were in great demand in medieval times, and were treated as if they were jewels. In parts of France the tree is known as l'epine noble because of this association with the Crown of Thorns. It is said that the tree groans and sighs on Good Friday (Wilks). Like many other thorny plants, legend has it that REST HARROW was used to make the Crown of Thorns (Leyel. 1937). Even BLACKBERRY appeared in the legends and BLACKTHORN is another candidate for inclusion (Graves). But the likeliest candidate must be CHRIST-THORN (Paliurus spina-christi), a Mediterranean plant whose young stems are quite pliant, and certainly could be woven into a crown (Moldenke & Moldenke). Some legends suggest that BEAR'S BREECH (Acanthus spp) was one of the plants used (Perry. 1972).
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