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What a good year for the blackthorn! By Harry Mount

Blog | Mar 03, 2024

Blackthorn in Pembrokeshire today

The hedgerows are gleaming with blackthorn blossom, says Harry Mount

As you drive through rural Britain, you see it everywhere: creamy white blackthorn blossom, frothing over the hedgerows, lining the roads for miles on end.

This year has been particularly good for blackthorn, despite the rain. There have been few frosts, allowing the blackthorn to produce rare amounts of blossom.

Because of its spiky branches, blackthorn is a popular hedgerow plant to keep animals at bay - and so it lines fields across the country. Its branches are good, too, for firewood and walking sticks.

And there's more colour to come, when the hawthorn blossoms. It tends to come out next month - thus its other name, maythorn. Despite the similarity of their blossom, you can tell the difference between the two by their leaves - blackthorn blossoms before producing leaves; hawthorn produces leaves and then blossoms.

It doesn't end there. In the autumn, blackthorn produces sloes - time for wintry sloe gin.