Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa)
Blackthorn, Prunus spinosa, is one of my favourite hedge plants. Unlike Hawthorn it's slow growing and freely suckering, forming impenetrable thickets. Like it, though, it makes an attractive small tree if left alone. It has needle like spines (hence "spinosa"), which make it a mixed blessing for hedge layers. They can hurt, and seomtimes become infected. Don't plant Blackthorn close to a lawn or, like us, you'll have spiky suckers coming up under your feet. Prunus spinosa is tough as old boots, and as a hedge plant lays well and forms a good spiny stockproof - and people proof - barrier. Add to that its suckering and ability to grow in a wide range of conditions, including shade, and you can understand why it's so invaluable in hedgerows.
Value For Wildlife
Blackthorn's thorny branches and dense suckering habit makes it a fabulous refuge for small birds and mammals. They feast on its sloes, and a raft of moth and butterfly caterpillars feed on it too. Among the lepidoptera for which Blackthorn is a foodplant are the Brown and Black Hairstreak, Small Tortoiseshell and Short-cloaked moth. Its prolific beautiful white blossom is an important nectar source in early spring for a range of pollinators including honeybees, and contrasts visually with its near black bark to make for a lovely effect.
Blackthorn tree wood is hard and prized for walking sticks, and was also said to have been used for the crown of thorns. It's main value for us here, however, is the sloe gin - a vital part of our Christmas! We've also made sloe jam before. The flowers are edible too, and make a tea high in vitamin C.
Plants For Sale
Provenance certificates are available on request for Prunus spinosa plants, which are from the Southwest of England. Our supplier is a member of the Woodland Trust's UK Sourced and Grown Assurance Scheme.
Supplier : Perrie Hale Forest Nursery
Your purchase of Blackthorn helps us support a range of charities, which are related to the products we sell.
See our planting and size guide for details and tips on planting Blackthorn.
These Blackthorn plants are all bare root, and are consequently available for delivery from November until March (please ask if you are interested in pot grown plants and we may be able to help). During the lifting season there may be up to two week's delay between placing the order and dispatching, due to weather conditions or pressure of orders, which are dealt with in date sequence. Orders placed for Blackthorn between March and October are confirmed for dispatch from November.
Time to Ultimate Height
Over 20 years
Clay, loam, sand, chalk
Neutral, acid, alkaline
Sheltered or exposed
Full or partial sun