Site address
(not postal)
Woodcroft Wildspace
Downes Court
N21 3PT
leaves, berries and flowers

BLACKTHORN (Prunus spinosa)

The blackthorn is a member of the Rose family (Rosaceae). It is a thorny tree/shrub which grows to a height of 3-4m. It grows long, spreading roots which produce suckers that grow into more trees, so it often has more than one site. It has rigid, stiff thick-set branches with many intersecting twigs, making it virtually impenetrable. The branches, buds and leaves are arranged spirally, and may look reddish-brown or purple. The bark is dark slate grey or green, sometimes looking almost black.

The white flowers appear early in the year, from late February to April, and the leaves appear after the flowers have faded. The leaves may turn yellow or red in autumn.

The berries are full size by the end of June and have changed from green to blue-purple by mid-August. They ripen September to October.

Blackthorn wood is tough and hard and has traditionally been used for walking sticks, Irish shillelaghs and small artifacts such as tent pegs.

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