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Damson

Edible Edible Autumn Autumn

Damsons are best cooked into jams, jellies, leathers or other puddings or used as a substitute for sloes when making sloe gin.

Hedgerow Type
Common Names Damson
Scientific Name Prunus domestica subsp insititia
Season Start Sep
Season End Oct
Please note that each and every hedgerow item you come across may vary in appearance to these photos.

Leaves

Dark green, shiny and oval shaped with a serrated edge.

Flowers

Clusters of small, white flowers with five petals.

Fruit

A dark blue/black fruit with a thin white bloom.

Bark

The trunk is usually fairly thin the bark is often covered in scars, moss and lichen.

Habitat

Mixed woodland, hedgerows, parks, gardens and along pavements.

Possible Confusion

Other members of the plum family.

Taste

Like a slightly sour plum busting with flavour.

Frequency

Common.

Collecting

Damson trees don’t usually grow too tall so they can be easy to reach or in some years the weight of the fruit bends the branches down to picking height for you.

Medicinal Uses

It is thought the name Damson originates from ‘plum of Damascus’ and it was brought over by the Romans but recent studies show that it might have evolved from a hybrid with the Sloe or Blackthorn and another member of the plum family.
Damsons were used in the past for many different ailments but modern medicine doesn’t seem very interested in them.

Other Facts

It was used as a dye in the 18th and 19th centuries.

COMMENTS

2 comments for Damson

  1. Rory O'Neill says:

    Hi,
    I think we have Damson trees in our garden.
    The trees are tall and spindly and don’t seem to want to grow out, just up.
    They are way over 10-15 feet tall as well, which is apparently the norm?
    Can I prune them to grow outwards?
    Perhaps they aren’t Damsons, but they look like it!

    1. Phil Leng says:

      Hi Rozzer, damsons in the garden, lucky man! Damsons do like to shoot up, and if they are damsons you aren’t going to do them any harm by giving trimming the spindly growth growing up.

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