E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Prunus spinosa L.
sloe (blackthorn)
Rosaceae (Rose family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Robert Flogaus-Faust  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #26325)

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Distribution of Prunus spinosa
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Species Information

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Medium to tall shrub, 1-4 m tall, much-branched, very thorny with spine-tipped spur shoots, sometimes suckering to form dense thickets; twigs blackish, sometimes hairy when young.
Alternate, deciduous, oval to egg-shaped, 2-4 cm long, finely saw-toothed, blunt at the tip, hairy on both surfaces or on the veins beneath but becoming smooth, short-stalked, the stalks usually without glands.
Inflorescence a cluster of stalked flowers, the flowers single at each of the several crowded nodes of a short spur-shoot that was formed the previous year; corollas white, bowl-shaped, 1-2 cm across, the petals 5, oblong-egg-shaped, 5-7 mm long; calyces 5-lobed; ovaries superior.
Fleshy drupes with a large wrinkled stone (prunes), nearly globe-shaped, 10-15 mm long, on stalks shorter than 1 cm, bluish-purple to black, with whitish bloom; seeds 1.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Dry to moist thickets, gullies and waste places in the lowland zone; rare in SW BC; introduced from Europe.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References