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


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

UK Map