© Bob Ford/Nature Portfolio
Wild Plum, photographed on 2nd April 2008.
When anyone says to you "the blackthorn's flowering early this year" it usually means that they have seen this species, which does look like a very large blackthorn and flowers a month or two earlier.
Look at it close though and you'll notice that it has no thorns, and the flowers are much larger and rose-like, with overlapping petals.
This is actually a group of plants known as Wild Plum, Cherry Plum, Wild Cherry or Flowering Thorn depending on the particular variety or species, often grafted on to blackthorn rootstock.
The earliest flowering species of all is the Cherry Plum, Prunus cerasifera.
As well as being common on the Rodwell Trail this is the main shrub planted along Weymouth Way near Fieldbarn Drive.