©BSNHS 2014

The fruits known as sloes are very acidic. As fruits develop some are distorted by gall forming fungus Taphrina pruni. The leaves themselves can also be affected by galls, one in particular is the gall mite Phyllocoptes eupadi which causes pimples along the leaf mid rib, the adult mites over winter under the bark.

One of the first trees to blossom, with white single flowers that have five petals and are in such abundance that whole hedgerows turn white in early spring, these provide an early source of nectar for over wintering butterflies, such as comma, peacocks and also early emerging bumble bees.

Blackthorn leaves, which are alternate, are the food plant for the larvae of a number of moth species but more importantly for the larvae of two butterfly species - Brown Hairstreak Thecla betulae and Black Hairstreak Strymondia pruni.

Early Tortoiseshell nectaring on blossom

March Tree of the Month - Blackthorn

Blackthorn flowers

Phyllocoptes eupadi

BLACKTHORN  Prunus spinosa

A member of the Rosaceae family

A native tree of shrubby habit, densely branched thorny deciduous tree which  freely suckers.