Wild Bullace or Wintercrack Plum

The Wild Bullace or Wintercrack Plum, Prunus insititia, is often considered a native shrub to Britain. It was cultivated many years ago and is often found beside abandoned settlements. It grows readily from seed to produce a suckering bush similar to Blackthorn, Prunus spinosa, but without the spines and with an edible, if rather tart, fruit. Use the same recipe as for sloe gin to make wintercrack gin. It tastes as good as it sounds! Bullace is also good for fruit crumbles, pies and preserves.

Wintercrack grown from seed has the natural variability of any species so it should not be planted as a single specimen in the garden or orchard where it might disappoint. Better to plant at least 10 Wintercracks as an informal hedgeline at 1 metre spacing or in clumps on the edge of newly planted woods and scrubby areas at 2 metre spacing. Suckers will soon fill up the spaces between plants.

It is particularly good for wildlife areas because of its profuse fruiting after just 5 years or so of growth. Any plums that fall to the ground will soon be eaten. The kernels inside the stones provide vital winter food for rodents.

Wintercrack plums