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low, spreading, thorny bush or small tree (Prunus spinosa) of the plum genus of the family Rosaceae (roserose,
common name for some members of the Rosaceae, a large family of herbs, shrubs, and trees distributed over most of the earth, and for plants of the genus Rosa, the true roses.
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 family), having black bark, white flowers, and deep blue fruits, usually rather acrid and not much larger than peas. Native to the Mediterranean area, the blackthorn is cultivated for hedges, its limbs are used in Ireland for canes and cudgels, and the juice of the berries is used in making brandy, sloe gin, and preserves and as a diluent of port. One of the hawthorns is sometimes called blackthorn. Blackthorn is classified in the division MagnoliophytaMagnoliophyta
, division of the plant kingdom consisting of those organisms commonly called the flowering plants, or angiosperms. The angiosperms have leaves, stems, and roots, and vascular, or conducting, tissue (xylem and phloem).
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, class Magnoliopsida, order Rosales, family Rosaceae.
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All parts of the plant are used for all kinds of purposes, like diarrhea, kidney problems, mouth irritation, expectorant, diuretic, gentle laxative, astringent, disinfectant and good for the stomach. Bush or small tree, blackish bark and dense, stiff, spiny branches, oval leaves (look like tea leaves), flowers have 5 creamy white petals. Fruit looks like very large blueberries, black/purple/blue but smaller than plum.
Edible Plant Guide © 2012 Markus Rothkranz
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(Prunus spinosa), a plant of the family Rosaceae. The blackthorn is a small shrub or, rarely, a small tree reaching a height of 4–8 m. The branches are thorny, and the leaves are elliptic or obovate. The flowers, which are small and white, bloom in April and May. The fruit is a single-stoned drupe with a waxy bloom; most often it is rounded, small, and blue-black.

The wild blackthorn grows in Asia Minor, Western Europe, the Mediterranean region, the European USSR, the Caucasus, and Western Siberia. The tart, late-maturing fruits contain 5.5–8.8 percent sugar (glucose and fructose) and 0.8–2.8 percent acids. They are eaten in dried form or made into wine or jam. The blackthorn is winter-hardy and drought resistant. A large-fruited variety, obtained by crossing the blackthorn with the common plum (P. domestica), is widely cultivated in the Volga region.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


a thorny Eurasian rosaceous shrub, Prunus spinosa, with black twigs, white flowers, and small sour plumlike fruits
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005