Blackthorn is an incredibly common small shrub, found throughout the British lsles. It rarely grows much taller than 25 feet (8.5 m).

Its fearsome thorns make it an excellent nesting place for small birds.

Blackthorn flowers

Blackthorn flowers

Its flowers are often seen before March and are present before the leaves. Later these become blue/black berries called sloes, which are made into jam, wine and to flavour gin as well as to dye clothes.

The black hairstreak butterfly lays its eggs on blackthorn bushes.

It has beautiful two-toned wood: the sapwood is yellow and the wood from the heart is a deep brown. It holds a good polish and is used in the production of traditional walking sticks.

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