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Example of a rowan tree
Example of a rowan tree

The tradition of planting a Rowan tree in a garden is still followed by some. The Rowan was believed to afford the house and its inhabitants protection from witches. Consequently, it is considered very bad luck to cut down a Rowan tree!

The manifold uses of the rowan tree included it being grown for suitable timber for tool handles. It was known for its strength and density, which is advantageous when it comes to making handles for spades, cas-chrom, spinning wheels and walking sticks. Hugh Cheape describes one such tool, the straight spade from the Scottish Highlands and Islands (Cheape, H, 1993, The 'Straight Spade' of the Highlands and Islands, in Tools and Traditions, Edited by Hugh Cheape, NMS). Rowan trees are often found growing at the sites of ruined farmsteads across Scotland today.

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