Trees to look for in April — Blackthorn

Photo credit: Tamsin Bent

Where to look

It grows best in moist, well-drained soil in full sunlight. It grows naturally in scrub, copses and woodland, but is commonly used as a hedging plant.


Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa) is a small tree native to the UK. They are often found in hedges and because they are so spikey they are good at stopping animals escaping from their fields. They can live up to a hundred years! In April, they stand out from other trees because of the masses of white, insect pollinated flowers. Their flowers are hermaphrodite (made up of both male and female parts) and once pollinated they produce blue-black fruit known as sloes. Sloes aren’t in fact berries, but are drupes, a fleshy fruit with thin skin and a central stone containing the seed, like a plum or a peach. The blackthorn depends on birds and mammals eating the sloes and spreading the seed through their poo!

For more info see

Where we've found Blackthorns

Blackthorn spottings journal (22 seen)

Last seen Location Spotted by Group Notes
16 Apr 2021 Capel's Mill Tamsin Stroud Valleys Project
5 May 2020 Snuff mills Lana The Emmetts
30 Apr 2020 Trinity
30 Apr 2020 Sheepscombe Chloe Trinity
30 Apr 2020 Tintern Katie St John's on-the-Hill We saw blackthorn at the Devil's Pulpit.
30 Apr 2020 Salisbury Miliana St John's on-the-Hill I found blackthorn in the hedge behind our shed.
30 Apr 2020 Undy Maisie-Jane St John's on-the-Hill I saw blackthorn in the hedges on our walk.
30 Apr 2020 Tidenham Lexi St John's on-the-Hill I found blackthorn along the lane where I live.
30 Apr 2020 Tutshill. Ava St John's on-the-Hill I spotted it in Tutshill.
30 Apr 2020 Lydney Isabelle St John's on-the-Hill Blackthorn on a grey day.
29 Apr 2020 SN10 2ES Pops Cooks&Co White snow flurry of blossombeginning to fall after the rain.
28 Apr 2020 Ewan St John's on-the-Hill In our hedge. It's not yet in flower but has huge spikes.
14 Apr 2020 fields on summer street Stroud Valley Community School
11 Apr 2020 Workman woods Xavier MogsHouse
8 Apr 2020 Lost in the Wild
7 Apr 2020 Capel's Mill Jo The Weaver's
3 Apr 2020 Julie Wickham Bassetts at Home Capels Mill, by the Crossing. It was beautiful.
30 Mar 2020 Westrip, Stroud Carol ClH
30 Mar 2020 Folly Lane Ella The Weaver's
28 Mar 2020 New Polzeath Daisy Blended I found this while walking down to the beach. It is quite common in this area
24 Mar 2020 New Polzeath, Cornwall. Gavin Blended Spotted in New Polzeath, Cornwall.
2 Mar 2020 Stratford Park Tamsin B Stroud Valleys Project


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