TG3303 : Blackthorn or sloe (Prunus spinosa)

taken 1 year ago, near to Claxton, Norfolk, Great Britain

Blackthorn or sloe (Prunus spinosa)
Blackthorn or sloe (Prunus spinosa)
Sloes are the fruit of the blackthorn tree. These berries will sustain birds during the winter. Blackthorn in bloom is considered an emblem of life and death together because the flowers appear when the tree has no leaves. In Irish folklore it was believed that the "little people" lived in Blackthorn bushes. Fairy tribes, called Lunantishees, are said to guard Blackthorn trees and to cut branches off it on 11 November or 11 May is considered to be unlucky. The blackthorn flowers provide food for bumblebees and early-flying Small Tortoiseshell butterflies and its leaves feed the larvae of Black and Brown Hairstreak butterflies. The dried juice of the berries is used for making gum acacia. The flowers and fruit are considered a good tonic for diarrhoea and other bowel problems and sloe syrup has anti-rheumatic properties and can help fight flu. The berries are used in wine, gin and vodka as flavouring and they can be made into a paste for whitening teeth and removing tartar. The berries taste better and not so bitter if harvested after a few frosts. Ancient folk used to bury the sloes in straw-lined pits for a few months to ripen them and make them sweeter - one such pit was found at a neolithic lake village in Glastonbury. The sharp thorns of the plant were used for centuries as awls and blackthorn is the traditional wood used in wands and to make the traditional Irish shillelagh (cudgel) used in fighting sports.
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TG3303, 94 images   (more nearby )
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Date Taken
Saturday, 29 July, 2017   (more nearby)
Saturday, 29 July, 2017
Geographical Context
Wild Animals, Plants and Mushrooms 
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! TG 3357 0340 [10m precision]
WGS84: 52:34.6928N 1:26.7539E
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! TG 3359 0338
View Direction
Northwest (about 315 degrees)
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Image Type (about): close look 
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