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The blackthorn (Prunus spinosa) is widely used in hedgerows and has white flowers which appear before the leaves.

The fruit are called sloes which if mixed with half weight of sugar and stored for two months make sloe gin. If the sloes are eaten raw they are tarty and will dry the inside of the mouth.

The plant is also the caterpillar food plant of the black and brown hairstreak butterfly.

Credit: Information and photo kindly supplied by Peter Dowse of Bollington, Cheshire.

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