Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa) is a deciduous shrub native to Europe and western Asia. It’s known for its thorny branches, white spring blossoms, and small dark blue or blackish fruits called sloes.

The Appearance

A small deciduous tree or large shrub with a dense, thorny habit and small, oval leaves. It produces clusters of white flowers followed by dark purple sloes.


The Produce

The flowers are typically solitary or in small clusters along the branches.


The Flowers

Produces clusters of white flowers in spring, followed by dark purple sloes in autumn.


The Leaves

The leaves of the Blackthorn are usually oval to elliptical with finely serrated margins. They are dark green that turn yellow in the autumn before falling.


The Bark

The bark is dark and smooth, becoming more fissured with age.


The Habitat

Prefers well-drained soils and full sun to partial shade. Commonly found in hedgerows and woodlands.


The Ecology

Provides habitat and food for various wildlife, including birds and insects. The sloes are eaten by birds and mammals.


The Culture

Valued for its dense, thorny growth and its fruit, which is used to make sloe gin. Often planted in hedgerows and woodlands.


Fun Facts

Blackthorn is known for its early spring flowers and its fruit, which is used to make traditional sloe gin.

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