Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa)
One of the many delights of living here in Purbeck is seeing the many Blackthorn trees and bushes come in to flower.
They are just about coming out now and for the next three weeks or so the hedgerows will look as though they have had a heavy dusting of flour!
Blackthorn is unique in that the flowers come before the leaves whereas the other hedgerow shrubs are all the other way round. Blackthorn is invariably the first to flower as well.
Close up the flowers are really lovely; pure white petals with what, at first, seems to be two small black dots on each. The black dots are, in fact the tips (or anthers) of the white stamens. Early insects will pollinate these flowers to give us sloes in the autumn.
The colder winter means that the Blackthorn is a little later this year. If we get another cold snap then it undoubtedly will bring to mind the country saying of it being a 'Blackthorn winter'.