Sporkehout (FRANGULA ALNUS) is een verbastering van Sprokkelhout. Om de reinigende eigenschappen van de boom ook vaak Vuilboom genoemd. De plant hoort bij de Wegedoornfamilie, waarvan Wegedoorn hier ook in de Lage Landen voorkomt. Sprokehout komt vaker als de Wegedoorn hier alleen als struik voor. Beide horen bij de inheemse houtige gewassen, die eigenlijk vaker aangeplant zouden moeten worden.

Sporkeboom heeft veel namen, die vaak samen hangen aan vroeger gebruik ervan: spork, gewone vuilboom, bloedboom, pijlhout, hondskers, honzehout, sprokkel, peggehout, duvelskeersj, houtjeshout, buskruithout, en stinkboom.


De bladverliezende struiken ( soms bomen) groeien vaak veelstammig uit. Vrij breed tot wel 4 meter, tot 7 meter hoog.

In Nederland is sporkehout een algemeen voorkomende heester in laagveengebieden, aangeplant bos in de IJsselmeerpolders en de duinen, hoewel ze zeldzaam is op de Waddeneilanden. Op kleigrond groeit de boom van nature nooit.  In België is de struik of boom zeer algemeen in de Kempen en de Ardennen. De plant groeit vaak in natte en zure bosranden samen met wilde kamperfoelie.


Sporkehout is een waardplant voor de citroenvlinder en het boomblauwtje.De Ook een aantal motten leeft van het blad van deze heester, net als meerdere wantsen en motten. Het is een belangrijke voedingsplant voor honingbijen. De zaden worden gegeten door vogels als lijster en fazanten, die zo voor de verspreiding ervan zorgen.


Het hout werd vroeger veel gebruikt, zoals voor het maken van houtskool waarmee goed getekend kan woden, maar waarmee ook buskruit gemaakt kon worden. De twijgen werden gebruikt in bijenkorven. En de bessen als verfstof om sapgroen en schijtgeel te krijgen.


Sporkehout is voor mensen onsmakelijk en licht giftig, maar zowel de bessen als de bast kunnen als laxeermiddel gebruikt worden. De bast bevat 3-7% antronincine, dat de wand van de endeldarm aanzet tot beweging. Vandaar de naam vuilboom, omdat men zo de darmen goed kan ledigen.

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