Flora of Northern Ireland
  • Prunus spinosa L. - Blackthorn
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Prunus spinosa
© Paul Hackney
Prunus spinosa
© Paul Hackney
Prunus spinosa
© Paul Hackney
Prunus spinosa
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(Map updated: March 2008)
 

A densely spiny shrub producing masses of small white flowers before the leaves in spring, and equally large numbers of juicy fruits (technically known as drupes) in the autumn. The fruits are popularly called "sloes" and despite their succulent appearance are far too bitter for human consumption, except as a flavouring in home-made liqueurs. Some blackthorn shrubs show evidence of interbreeding with bullace or other wild plums.

All names: Prunus spinosa L.; Prunus communis auct.