This deciduous shrub flowers from late February to early March to April (5).The flowers are pollinated by a range of insects (2). In addition to flavouring gin, sloes are used in jellies, conserves and syrups and were made to make sloe wine, an alternative to port (5)(4). They have also been put to various uses in folk-medicine (6). The flowers are edible and the leaves have been dried and used as a substitute for tea (6). Furthermore, dyes have been obtained form the fruits, leaves and bark (5). The wood of blackthorn is extremely hard and is highly valued for making walking sticks as it shows interesting patterns and knot-holes (4).
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