Identifying sloes

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Joined: 09 Nov 2014, 19:05

Identifying sloes

Post by kev » 18 Nov 2014, 17:50


I'm completely new to sloes after my other half bought me a foraging book.
I live in the south east and have found what I believe to be a good amount of sloes after stumbling across them.
What I would like to know is if sloes can be easily mistaken for any other berries, particularly anything poisonous. I have looked on line but have found nothing that gives me a definitive answer.
The leaves on the bushes I have found are oval with serrated edges and the berries have stones with green flesh however the branches were not particularly spiney although I understand that bushes vary.
If anyone could help or recommend a good book I would be really grateful.

Posts: 14
Joined: 19 Mar 2015, 15:20

Re: Identifying sloes

Post by ChrisR » 19 Mar 2015, 19:13

It's a bit late in the season :D but there's not much you can confuse with sloes and very few poisonous things. You should avoid Privet & Buckthorn - the former is poisonous and the latter just very very bitter. Avoid any red berries or anything that looks like a climber. If your fruits come from a woody shrub/tree in a hedge or by the road and the leaves are rough, darkish green and with serrated edges then it should belong to the plum family. Sloes will be fairly small (up to about 10mm diameter), dark blue/purple with a short stalk and a pale bloom. The bushes usually have stout thorns - if they don't and the fruit seems bigger on average then you might start to consider damsons or bullaces. Damsons are usually about 15mm diameter and oval ... bullaces are usually up to 20mm and round but can also come in a yellow/green form. Sloe skins are also quite bitter to the taste - leaving the mouth very dry - with a sweeter flesh inside. Damsons & bullaces are usually less dry but can be quite acidic.

Hope that helps :)

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