Usually found in Europe, Asia and Africa, the Blackthorm is an easily recognizable tree because of its spiny and stiff branches. It is known to grow in the wild and it manages to adjust very well to different types of soils and it’s scientifically referred to as Prunus Spinosa, specie belonging to the Prunus family or more commonly referred to as the Sloe.
This plant is considered to be a small tree with spiny branches, and although it can produce fruit, people still refer to it as being a bush. The Blackthorn can grow up to 5 m in height and it’s famous for its hedging purpose, as people plant it to surround their gardens or houses. With oval leaves and creamy white flowers, the Prunus Spinosa is very pleasant in appearance because of the apparent contradiction between its stiff and spiny branches and the fact that the tree can actually produce fruit.
The fruit produced by the Blackthorn is usually harvested in late autumn and goes by the name of “sloe”, measuring between 10 and 12 mm in diameter. The British and the Spaniards have seen the utility of the fruit produced by the Blackthorn and now they’re using it to produce alcoholic beverages, like gin or liqueur. Only a limited few know the recipe of these alcoholic beverages, and their composition is deeply rooted in the traditional ways of their communities.
The flowers of the Blackthorn can be pollinated by insects and are also hermaphroditic. Its flowers give a very joyful aspect in early spring, and the multitude of 5 petal-flowers makes the tress softer in appearance, as opposed to its stiff branches. The color of the flowers is mainly beige with white nuances. The resemblance of the Blackthorn with the cherry plum tree confuses people as they always get the two trees mixed. The difference is quite visible for the connoisseurs and resides in the branches which are wider-angled and in the leaves which are narrower. You just have to pay attention to details and you’ll definitely see the difference.
Although highly cultivated in the places where it originates from, Europe, Asia and Africa, there are other places as well that are trying to naturalize locally this Blackthorn tree. Amongst these regions we can mention New Zeeland and North America, where cultivators have been enjoying great results from the Sloe’s cultivation process. Not only used in hedging purposes, the Prunus Spinosa tree is also appreciated for its fruit, which has actually entered the literary culture, as metaphor for really dark eyes. The famous Vashti novel written in 1867 by A.J. Wilson mentions the expression “slow-eyed”, which is even now frequently used.
The modern practices in physiotherapy recommend this plant as a medicinal plant which can help the treatment of various diseases, starting from hemorrhages, diarrhea, dieting, anorexia, and pulmonary diseases. The treatment is usually administrated orally, by drinking a tea made of the Blackthorn’s flowers or fruit.
Blackthorn Pictures Gallery