Early to flower, Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa) bursts into a mass of frothy, white blossom in March and April. The blooms appear on the dark brown branches before the leaves and are appreciated by honey bees and other insects and pollinators.
Blackthorn is a thorny shrub or small tree, common in the High Weald’s many hedgerows and woodland edges. It is an important species for wildlife; the leaves are food for many butterfly and moth caterpillars, and the dense, spiny bushes make great nesting places for birds.
In autumn, the blue-black spherical fruits, or ‘sloes’, are best known for being used to make sloe gin.
See the Woodland Trust’s video, ‘A Year in the Life of a Blackthorn Tree’.
See our hedge management advice on creating, managing and restoring hedges with good wildlife value.