Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Prunus spinosa - Blackthorn - Sloe

General Information
Common Name Blackthorn, Sloe
Scientific Name Prunus spinosa
Sun Tolerance Full Sun
Height 4.5-6 m (15 - 20 ft)
Spread 4.5 -6 m (15 - 20 ft)
Growth Rate Fast
Bloom Time Early Summer
Color Green
Flower Color White
Type Tree
Native Europe, Western Asia, Northwest Africa
Kingdom Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
SuperdivisionSpermatophyta – Seed plants
Division Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Subclass Rosidae
Order Rosales
Family Rosaceae – Rose family
Genus Prunus L. – plum
Species P. spinosa

Prunus spinosa - Blackthorn - Sloe
Prunus spinosa general name is Blackthorn but commonly called Sloe. It is a dwarfish tree which grows abundantly in hedgerows where, because of its many suckers and vicious black thorns, it is unpopular with farmers or on waste ground often forming impenetrable dense thickets.
Its black, thorn-studded twigs carry small alternate winter buds that are oval, bluntly pointed and reddish to purplish-black in color. The small (about an inch long) oval leaves are tender green on opening, have pointed tips, shallowly toothed margins, and dull red stalks. The leaves later become longer and narrower and a much darker duller green.
The leaves are usually preceded (though sometimes followed) in April by clouds of small, star-shaped, white, bi-sexual blossoms. The small round fruit (sloe) ripens through green flesh is intensely bitter to the taste and the stone is brown. The fruits are the source of sloe jelly. They are often fermented to produce sloe wine and if pickled in spirit they provide sloe gin.

The bark is black and on old trees it becomes broken into small square plates. The sapwood is pale yellow and the heartwood dark brown and tough. Though the tree is too small for use as timber, knobbly walking sticks are made from it and the wood was used to make the traditional Irish shillelagh. 

Leaves of Prunus spinosa

Leaves of Blackthorn - Sloe

Flowers of Prunus spinosa

Flowers of  Blackthorn - Sloe

Prunus spinosa - Blackthorn - Sloe Leves

Thorn of Prunus spinosa

Thorn of Blackthorn - Sloe

Prunus spinosa  - Green Fruits

Fruits of Blackthorn - Sloe

Prunus spinosa - Fruits

Prunus spinosa - Seeds

Prunus spinosa -  Full blooms

Prunus spinosa - Blackthorn - Sloe

Prunus spinosa - Blackthorn - Sloe

1 comment:

Karen Edie said...

I wish I could find a source for Blackthorn in Michigan or the US. Oikos in Michigan turned out to be a rip-off scam. $$$ for hair-thin, long-dead twigs which could not be resurrected.

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