Prunus spinosa L.


Sp. Pl. 475 (1753) APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Naturalised

Dense deciduous shrub to c. 4 m high; branches spiny, divaricate; young twigs and shoots pubescent, dull. Leaves obovate to oblanceolate, mostly 2–4 cm long, 1–3 cm wide, base cuneate, apex obtuse to broadly acuminate, margins crenate or serrate, glabrous or sparsely pubescent above, usually pubescent on (at least) veins below; petiole 3–10 mm long. Flowers mostly solitary (sometimes 2 or 3) on short lateral shoots, appearing before the leaves; pedicels slender, glabrous. Sepals rounded, glabrous, margins glandular; petals obovate, white. Drupe globose, 10–15 mm diam., glabrous, bluish-black, pruinose, very sour; stone subglobose, smooth or slightly wrinkled.

*GipP, *HSF, *VVP. Also naturalised Tas. Native through much of Europe. Noted as naturalised in Victoria along the Plenty River Gorge near Greensborough where abundant over several hectares. Probably more widespread but overlooked due to its similarity to Prunus cerasifera.

Source: Jeanes, J.A.; Jobson, P.C. (1996). Rosaceae. In: Walsh, N.G.; Entwisle, T.J. (eds), Flora of Victoria Vol. 3, Dicotyledons Winteraceae to Myrtaceae. Inkata Press, Melbourne.
Updated by: Val Stajsic, 2018-03-15
Hero image
Distribution map
life Life
kingdom Plantae
phylum Tracheophyta
superorder Rosanae
order Rosales
family Rosaceae
genus Prunus
Higher taxa


Source: AVH (2014). Australia's Virtual Herbarium, Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, <>. Find Prunus spinosa in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Prunus spinosa in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Victorian Volcanic Plain present naturalised
Gippsland Plain present naturalised
Highlands-Southern Fall present naturalised

State distribution

Distribution map
South Australia