First light

Landscape (UK) - - Our Landscape -

Hun­dreds of tiny white blossoms emerge in early spring on the bare, thorny branches of black­thorn. These pro­lific flow­ers are a com­mon sight in hedgerows and along field edges, the spiky branches of­ten be­ing used as a nat­u­ral cat­tle-proof bar­rier. As one of the ear­li­est blossoms to ap­pear, the mul­ti­tudes of flow­ers pro­vide an im­por­tant source of pollen for for­ag­ing spring bees. Fo­liage ar­rives later and is it­self a food source for many cater­pil­lars, in­clud­ing those of the Brim­stone moth and Brown Hairstreak but­ter­fly. With its dark spiny wood and con­trast­ing bright flow­ers, black­thorn has a tra­di­tional as­so­ci­a­tion with the cy­cles of life and death. Be­cause of this, it is of­ten used in the Celtic cel­e­bra­tion of Im­bolc, wel­com­ing the be­gin­ning of spring.

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