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Scarification: Soak in water, let stand in water for 24 hours
Stratification: cold stratify for 180 days
Germination: sow 1" deep, tamp the soil, mulch the seed bed
Prunus spinosa, also known as blackthorn or sloe, is a deciduous shrub or small tree native to Europe, western Asia, and locally in northwest Africa. With its blackish bark and stiff, spiny branches, it grows up to 5 meters tall. The creamy-white flowers, produced in early spring before the leaves, are hermaphroditic and insect-pollinated. The fruit, a sloe, is a thin-fleshed drupe with a strong astringent flavor when fresh, often used for making jellies, syrups, conserves, sloe gin, and other liqueurs. The shrub is traditionally used in Britain and other parts of northern Europe to make cattle-proof hedges. Sloes also have a variety of other uses, including being made into jam, chutney, wine, and a liqueur called pacharán in Spain. The wood makes excellent firewood and is used for tool handles and canes, while the leaves can be used as an adulterant for tea. Blackthorn may have been associated with the ancient Celtic celebration of Imbolc.