Prunus Spinosa (Blackthorn)- Dense, dark and thorny, this small tree can grow up to 6-7meters in a wide spreading habit. Its leaves are small with a rugged toothed edge and appear long after the clusters white flowers which start to show during March/April time. One of the main characteristics of blackthorn is its thorns, which are around 2-2.5cm in length and line the tangled masses of twigs. This feature makes blackthorn a great impenetrable barrier and a fantastic hedging plant. Blackthorn can also be used for its fruits, known as sloes or sloe berries, to make preserves, wine or most commonly used to flavour gin. Blackthorn is also great for attracting wildlife, with its early flowers providing a good source of nectar and pollen in the spring and its fruit providing a food source for a whole host of birds and small mammals. Very invasive.
Fruit: The fruit, sloes, are small and round with dark purple/black skin.
Timber: Its wood can be used to make walking sticks.
Soil Types/Habitat: A very hard plant blackthorn can tolerate most soil types except acid soils. It is resistant to gales and salt laden winds. It has been found grown 400m above sea level but does tend to suffer slightly in shaded areas.