Blackthorn - Prunus spinosa

    Alternative names

    Dense shrub from 1 to 4 metres in height suckering freely and with spiny branches. Flowers white 10 to 15 mm solitary, but dense on branches, appearing before the leaves. Fruit rounded 10 to 15 mm black with a bluish bloom.

    Similar Species

    Prunus domestica agg. and Prunus cerasifera

    Identification difficulty
    ID guidance

    Twigs very spiny.  1st twigs brown to grey, often hairy.  Small fruit with scarcely flattened stone. Flowers appear before leaves

    Recording advice

    May be mis-recorded for P domestica.  Photo showing spiny twigs and/or fruit/fruit stone.  It may not be possible to verify this from a photo of flowers alone


    Hedgerows, woodland and scrub.

    When to see it

    March to May.

    Life History


    UK Status

    Very common throughout most of Britain.

    VC55 Status

    Very common in Leicestershire and Rutland. In the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire it was found in 595 of the 617 tetrads.

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    Leicestershire & Rutland Map

    MAP KEY:

    Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
    Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

    UK Map