This short post is part of a series focusing on autumn colours.
Featured in the photo accompanying this post are sloes, which are the fruits of blackthorn. Famed as a flavouring when turning spirits into liqueurs, their apperance in the hedgerow is a sure harbinger of cold nights to come.
Among those native fruits that are not flat-out poisonous to humans, the sloe (when not being used as a flavouring but eaten out of one’s hand) is surely one of the least palatable items from the hedgerow. As Helen Keating notes on the Woodland Trust website:
Sloes are in the same family as plums and cherries so if you’re brave you can eat them raw, though they are incredibly sharp and will dry your mouth out before you even finish your first one.
With the solstice, and thus the start of winter on the astronomical calendar, just a few days away at the time of posting, and Christmas a mere handful of days after that, the sloe feels like an apt feature of autumn with which to draw this series to a close. Or at least it should for those readers who enjoy a small tipple over Yuletide.