Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa) has a mid green leaf with sprigs of pure white flowers, clustered together with delicate long stamens on dark blackish stems showing first in spring. Blackthorn flowers then develop into small, round deep purple to black fruit, known as sloes in winter. Sloes are very popular with hungry birds and the fruit can be made into sloe gin.
The common name “blackthorn” is due to the thorny nature of the shrub, and its very dark bark. Sharp thorns and bushy branches make this an effective barrier, and good for keeping sheep in paddocks and fields.
The Blackthorn is therefore good to include in a hedge if a degree of security is required as well as privacy. The Blackthorn attracts the small Tortoise Shell butterfly and the Short Cloaked moths and pollinators such as Honey Bees, so Blackthorn is an important and beautiful plant supporting local wildlife
Blackthorn hedge plants are also a good choice to include in a mixed native hedge. Blackthorn is an unfussy plant, it is tolerant of most soil conditions and should be planted at a rate of five plants per metre.
Mixed native farm hedges are excellent for attracting birds and other wildlife as hedges play host to insects, berries and other sources of food for wildlife. Native mixed hedges also offer winter protection for wildlife.
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