much branched shrub, up to 4 m high. It is often found in lowland
woodland margins, scrub and hedgerows, on a wide range of soils. It
is only absent from extremely acid soils.
The short branches
which are at right angles to the stem lose their leaves and then persist
The buds are tiny
(<2mm), often in clusters of 3-5 (unlike Hawthorn).
The stem is dark
to blackish (unlike Hawthorn).
The white 5-petalled
flowers open in March and April before the leaves which follow in
The fruits, like
small plums, become the blue-black 'sloes' which are ripe in September