Blooming Blackthorn

Yampimon

Joined August 2010

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Fabulous blackthorn facts
*Cascades of white flowers which emerge before the leaves in March and April help to distinguish it from hawthorn
*The oval blue-black fruits (“sloes”) have a powdery surface bloom and an extremely bitter taste and are great for flavouring Gin
*This is the ancestor of our cultivated plums
*Straight blackthorn stems were traditionally used to make walking sticks and shillelaghs (a club-like weapon) in Ireland
*Blackthorn has around 109 species of insect associated with it
*Blackthorn in bloom is considered a symbol of life and death together as the flowers appear when the stems are bare
*Nightingales favour dense thickets of blackthorn for nesting
*It was believed that to bring blackthorn into the home meant certain a death would follow
*In ancient times sloes were buried in straw-lined pits and left for a few months to ripen and make them sweeter. A pit full of sloe stones was found at a Neolithic lake village in Glastonbury
*The spell of bad weather that often coincides with blackthorn flowering is known as a ‘blackthorn winter’

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