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BLACKTHORN : Prunus spinosa

it is exrtemely easy to confuse blackthorn bushes with hawthorn. Although blackthorn is indigenous to the UK and is quite common south of the border, the further north you go in Scotland, the rarer it becomes. To be certain what you are looking at it is suggested that you look at the links below, but in West Dunbartonshire, you are most likely seeing hawthorn and not blackthorn. See hawthorn : index.asp?pageid=731690

The Woodland Trust gives a useful description. The tree are spiny and densely branched with mature trees growing to a height of around 6–7m. They can live for up to 100 years. The dark brown bark is smooth, and twigs form straight side shoots which develop into thorns. Put simply, look out for a spiny, shrubby tree with black-purple twigs and small, narrow leaves. In winter they can be recognised by twigs which are black and spiny with leaf buds along the spines

Like the hawthorn, the blackthorn produces fruit. The blue-black berries are much appreciated by birds and are called sloes. These are used in sloe gin. (The hawthorn fruit are red). Also see FORAGING : index.asp?pageid=731714

DISCOVER WILDLIFE : https://www.discoverwildlife.com/how-to/identify-wildlife/how-to-tell-the-difference-between-hawthorn-and-blackthorn/

WILDLIFE TRUSTS : https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/wildlife-explorer/trees-and-shrubs/blackthorn

WOODLAND TRUST : https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/trees-woods-and-wildlife/british-trees/a-z-of-british-trees/blackthorn/

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