Like the Sloe Bush in rural England, the Hawthorn is a veritable fence when properly pruned and shaped. The dense brambles with spines and all make it a formidable property defining shrub. But with an added benefit, like the Sloe……the Hawthorn Bush has edible Hawthorn berries which are stewed, jellied, or used to flavor traditional spirits. Rarely used in gins today, it’s likely they were once far more common in European distilling. Like many of things which were common in those early spirits, Hawthorns grew all across Europe. In fact, there’s specimens in the UK which are older than (nearly 800 years old) and one in France that may date back to a time before Europeans even knew of distillation (a rumored 3rd century planting in Saint Mars sur la Futaie, Mayenne, France).