Glastonbury Abbey's famous Holy Thorn has been shortlisted in the Tree of the Year contest.
While the votes are being cast, here are ten things you might now know about this famous flowerer:
- The Holy Thorn spends Christmas with the Queen - the custom of sending a cutting to decorate the Royal festive table dates back to the 17th century
- It bears flowers and berries at the same time - unlike ordinary hawthorn trees, it flowers at Christmas time as well as in the spring
- The belief that the Glastonbury Holy Thorn blossomed on Christmas Day created great stress in 1753, when the Gregorian Calendar was adopted to bring Britain into line with Europe and eleven days were dropped from the month of September:
- It is associated with legends about Joseph of Arimathea and the arrival of Christianity in Britain
- The "original" Glastonbury Thorn was cut down and burned as a relic of superstition during the English Civil War.
- Legend has it that as the thorn was cut down, its thorns blinded the axe man in one eye
- Since then, the tree has been vandalised multiple times
- The original tree has been propagated a few times, with one tree growing at Glastonbury Abbey and another at the Church of St John
- In 1965, the Queen erected a wooden cross at Glastonbury with the following inscription:
- The Holy Thorn currently needs you! Click here to check out the competition and cast your vote
The Glastonbury Holy Thorn is one of ten trees shortlisted to be England's tree of the year.
In an annual ceremony the holy thorn is cut from the tree at Glastonbury Abbey and given to the Queen.
The public will vote on the final ten - which the Woodland Trust has whittled down from 200 nominations.
To see all the shortlists and vote for your favourite tree click here.
It's a tradition which dates back hundreds of years - school children and church leaders turned out in Glastonbury for the annual cutting of the Holy Thorn. A sprig from the tree- which flowers twice a year- is sent to the Queen. It plays an important part in Royal festivities.
A replacement sapling for the vandalised Holy Thorn in Glastonbury has itself been vandalised. The new tree was planted on Palm Sunday and surrounded by a metal cage, but it proved ineffective.
People who visited the site today (Tues) were dismayed by what they found.