Prunus spinosa (Sloe)
Also known as: Blackthorn
Native: Europe including Britain and North Asia
Location: Cultivated and naturalised in eastern North America.
Prickly shrub or small tree. Its fruits are gathered from hedgerows and may be used to colour and flavour gin. The wood has been used for hay rakes. Height to 4.5m as a shrub, but may be 6m as a tree.
Leaves are small with pointed teeth and hairs on the main vein beneath. Twigs bear hard sharp spines.
Flowers open before the leaves in March or early April, about 1.2cm or more across.
Fruit are about 1.2cm across and have a strongly astringent taste.