festival of spring #3

I am going to join in with Dawn’s Festival of Spring which will last for 10 -12 weeks in celebration of this season and share something that is happening in or around my neighbourhood each week.

The hedgerows and woodland edges in England will be full of this white blossom now. Often mistaken for Hawthorn the thorny shrub called Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa) flowers before the leaves appear and earlier than Hawthorn (which is commonly known as May Blossom).

Gorse and Blackthorn

In the autumn this shrub produces purple fruits called sloes which are often picked and used to make sloe gin, jams, jellies, syrups, ketchups and chutneys. It is far too bitter to eat uncooked. Warning: the leaves and seeds contain cyanogenic glycosides and hydrogen cyanide.

26 Comments Add yours

  1. Pretty flowers. Do you have to remove the seeds before you use the fruit?

    1. Heyjude says:

      I have never used them so not sure. In gin you just infuse the fruit and then strain the liquor. I think it is usual to remove the stone before eating the fruit.

  2. It’s interesting to read what the sloes can be used for – from gin to chutneys!

    1. Heyjude says:

      I have never tried any, not keen on sloe gin and we don’t really eat jam or chutney.

  3. Cathy says:

    My goodness, that’s an astonishingly healthy gorse – very different from the scrubby ones I am used to!

  4. Murtagh's Meadow says:

    I love your blackthorn image – here too the beautiful flowers are adorning the hedges and abandoned corners of fields.

  5. We have a lot of Prunelle or Blackthorn growing near us in the woods. It is a bounty for the bees but unfortunately my neighbour has let it grow beside our fence and it would conquer the garden if not laboriously kept in check. Amelia

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