Blackthorn is a deciduous, tall shrub of the Rosaceae family, covered with small but very sharp thorns.
In late April-early May, before the leaves appear, rather large, fragrant, regular flowers appear on the plant, located singly or in pairs in the leaf axils. The corolla usually consists of 6 oval, rounded or elliptical, white petals.
After pollination, fruits begin to form on the plant - small, rounded drupes, with juicy, greenish, tart-sour pulp and one seed inside. They are covered with a thin, soft, dark purple (almost black) skin, with a thin layer of bluish, waxy bloom.
The root system is very strong, rod-shaped, with a large number of root suckers.
Blackthorn has a rather ancient history of cultivation - since ancient times it was grown in almost all countries of Europe, Asia and the Middle East as a very valuable melliferous and medicinal plant. The first mentions of this bush can be found in the Old Testament - it was from a burning bush of thorns that God appeared to Moses and called him to lead his people out of Egypt. In addition, this plant was used to create a "royal crown" for Jesus Christ, so in Christians it is often associated with suffering and sacrifice.
The plant was first described in 1753 by the great English botanist Carl Linnaeus.
Blackthorn is a rather unusual plant, because besides thin, sharp thorns, it has one more characteristic feature - nectar is emitted not only by its flowers, but also by stipules. This makes the plant extremely attractive to bees and other insects that feed on sweet nectar.
The natural range of thorns is located on the territory of almost the entire Northern Hemisphere. In the wild, this plant is still quite common in our time in Western and Southern Europe, South Africa and Asia. Under natural conditions, it forms extensive thickets in the steppe and forest-steppe, on the edges of forests and at the sites of felling. It can also grow on light, dry mountain slopes.
In culture, blackthorn is grown almost everywhere as a very valuable melliferous and ornamental plant.