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Tree : BLACKTHORN    Celtic Name : STRAIF    Gaelic Name : DRAIGHIANN

Mosaic made by : Culbokie Youth

Location : Findon Hall, Culbokie

In Celtic folklore the Blackthorn tree is associated with darkness, the unknown and the mysterious. In Scotland it is said that the winter begins when the goddess of winter, Cailleach, strikes the ground with her Blackthorn staff.

Blackthorn is one of the few trees that blossoms before it produces leaves, with an often abundant display of tiny white flowers showing up in stark contrast against its dark branches and long thorns.  Blackthorn trees fruit in the autumn bearing sloes, which are at their best after a hard frost and are traditionally used for flavouring gin. 

The Celtic people understood from this that
blessings come after a challenge, and it was thought that Blackthorn gave the strength to accept and persevere in the face of adversity.

Blackthorn is found all over the Black Isle and is common in hedgerows as its dense habit and sharp thorn-covered branches are ideal for keeping livestock in.

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