1 wild plum of northeastern United States having dark purple fruits with yellow flesh [syn: Allegheny plum, Alleghany plum, Prunus alleghaniensis]
3 small sour dark purple fruit of especially the Allegheny plum bush
Etymologyslah, from *|slaikhwon. Cognate with Dutch slee, German Schlehe.
- Blackthorn redirects here; for other uses, see Blackthorn (disambiguation)
It is a deciduous large shrub or small tree growing to 5 m tall, with blackish bark and dense, stiff, spiny branches. The leaves are oval, 2–4.5 cm long and 1.2–2 cm broad, with a serrated margin. The flowers are 1.5 cm diameter, with five slightly creamy-white petals; they are produced shortly before the leaves in early spring, and are hermaphroditic and insect-pollinated. The fruit, called a "sloe" (slae, in the Scots language) is a drupe 10–12 mm diameter, black with a pale purple-blue waxy bloom, ripening in autumn; it is thin-fleshed, with a very strongly astringent flavour when fresh.
EcologyThe foliage is sometimes eaten by the larvae of Lepidoptera including Emperor Moth, Common Emerald, November Moth, Pale November Moth, Mottled Pug, Green Pug, Brimstone Moth, Feathered Thorn, Brown-tail, Yellow-tail, Short-cloaked Moth, Lesser Yellow Underwing, Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, Double Square-spot and the Black and Brown Hairstreaks.
Cultivation and usesThe fruit is similar to a small damson or plum, suitable for preserves, but rather tart and astringent for eating, unless deeply frozen, as is practiced in eastern Europe. In rural Britain so-called sloe gin is made from them, though this is not a true gin but a liqueur. In Navarra, Spain, patxaran is a popular liqueur made with sloes. Sloes can also be made into jam and, if preserved in vinegar, are similar in taste to Japanese umeboshi. It is extensively planted for hedging and for cover for game birds. The small thorns of the plant are relatively common causes of minor wounds in livestock, and these wounds often fester until the thorn is expelled or removed.
Straight blackthorn stems have traditionally been made into walking sticks and clubs (known in Ireland for example as a shillelagh).
The expression "sloe-eyed" for a person with dark eyes comes from the fruit
sloe in Franco-Provençal: Belociér
sloe in Asturian: Prunus spinosa
sloe in Catalan: Aranyoner
sloe in Danish: Slåen
sloe in German: Schlehdorn
sloe in Estonian: Laukapuu
sloe in Spanish: Prunus spinosa
sloe in Esperanto: Prunelo
sloe in Basque: Elorri beltz
sloe in French: Prunellier
sloe in Friulian: Sespâr
sloe in Galician: Abruñeiro
sloe in Armenian: Մամուխ
sloe in Upper Sorbian: Dorničel
sloe in Italian: Prunus spinosa
sloe in Georgian: კვრინჩხი
sloe in Limburgan: Sjlièkreek
sloe in Hungarian: Kökény
sloe in Dutch: Sleedoorn
sloe in Japanese: スピノサスモモ
sloe in Norwegian: Slåpetorn
sloe in Polish: Śliwa tarnina
sloe in Russian: Тёрн
sloe in Sicilian: Prunus spinosa
sloe in Finnish: Oratuomi
sloe in Swedish: Slån
sloe in Ukrainian: Терен
sloe in Walloon: Purnale
atramentous, black, black as coal, black as ebony, black as ink, black as midnight, black as night, coal-black, coaly, dark, dark as night, dark as pitch, deep black, ebony, ink-black, inky, jetty, midnight, night-black, night-dark, nigrous, pitch-black, pitch-dark, pitchy, raven, raven-black, sable, sloe-black, sloe-colored, tar-black, tarry