This is a deciduous, sometimes dense, thorny shrub which grows abundantly throughout the country. A lesson in contrast between the white blossoms and the black branches, from March to May the shrub carries the white, 5-petalled flowers (10-15mm) in short dense spikes which usually appear before the leaves which are oval and slightly toothed. The fruit, known as sloes, are bitter blue-black berries like tiny plums. Steeped for some months in gin with sugar, they produce the dangerous sloe gin! This native plant belongs to the family Rosaceae.
I first identified this in 1976 in Laragh, Co Wicklow and photographed it near Wellingtonbridge, Co Wexford in 2007.
If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre