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Rhamnus alnifolia

Rhamnus alnifolia L’Hér.

 

Alderleaf Buckthorn

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassRosidaeRoses, legumes, proteas, dogwoods, hydrangeas, mistletoes, euphorbias, grapes, many more
OrderRhamnalesBuckthorns, oleasters, grapes, others
FamilyRhamnaceaeBuckthorn family
GenusRhamnusFrom Greek for “buckthorn”
SpeciesalnifoliaMeans “similar to leaves of the Alnus genus”

About plant names...

Alderleaf buckthorn is a North American native.

Identification: This small shrub reaches up to 3' (1 m) in height. Leaves are alternate, smooth-edged, elliptical, either rounded or pointed at the tip, up to 4" (10 cm) × 2" (5 cm). Flowers are yellowish-green, in groups of 1-3, nestled at the base of leaves, from May to July. Male and female flowers occur on different plants. Fruits are round, up to ¼" (6.3 mm) in diameter, turning to light red and then to deep black. Each fruit contains three seeds.

Edibility: Not edible.

 

Rhamnus alnifolia (Alderleaf Buckthorn)

By Bryan A. Connolly, Massachusetts State Botanist, Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program, Division of Fisheries and Wildlife · 12/18/2007 · Sheffield, MA

Rhamnus alnifolia (Alderleaf Buckthorn)

By Bryan A. Connolly, Massachusetts State Botanist, Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program, Division of Fisheries and Wildlife · 12/18/2007 · Sheffield, MA

Here are some similar-looking buckthorns:

  You are here
Rhamnus alnifolia

Rhamnus cathartica

Frangula alnus
Common Name

Alderleaf Buckthorn

Buckthorn

European Buckthorn
Plant This smaller shrub reaches up to 3' (1 m) in height. Plants are rounded shrubs or small trees up to 33' (10 m) in height, with trunks that sometimes reach 10" (25 cm) in width. Outer bark is dark gray, while the inner bark is yellow and the heartwood is pink to orange in color. Stem tips are often tipped with a spine. 9½-20' (3-6 m) tall. It usually has multiple stems, rarely only one, becoming a tree. Dark brown-black bark covers a light yellow interior bark.
Flowers Yellowish-green, 5-petaled, in groups of 1-3, nestled at the base of leaves, from May to July. Male and female flowers are on different plants. Yellowish-green, with four petals, in dense clusters. ¹/₁₆-³/₁₆" (3-5 mm), 5-petaled, yellowish- or greenish-white, and inconspicuous.
Leaves Alternate, elliptical, either rounded or pointed at the tip, smooth-edged, up to 4" (10 cm) × 2" (5 cm). Elliptic (roughly oval), with several prominent veins roughly parallel to the leaf edges and fine teeth. They are ⅞-3½" (2.5-9 cm) × ⅜-1¼" (1.2-3.5 cm) in size. Leaves are mostly opposite, occasionally alternate, smooth on top and bottom. Roughly oval, 1-2½" (3-7 cm) long and ⅞-1½" (2.5-4 cm) wide. Leaves have smooth edges and prominent veins and stems ¼-½" (8-15 mm) long.
Fruit Round, up to ¼" (6.3 mm) in diameter, turning to light red and then to deep black. Each fruit contains three seeds. Fruits are dense clusters of black berries ⅛-⅜" (6-10 mm) in diameter. Each berry contains 3-4 seeds. Clusters of shiny black berries, reddish or purplish before ripening, are each ⅛-⅜" (6-10 mm) in diameter.
Range/ Zones

Type Wild Wild Wild
Occurrence Uncommon Common Common

 

Online References:

Rhamnus alnifolia at the U.S. Geological Survey's Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

Rhamnus alnifolia on the USDA Plants Database

Rhamnus alnifolia at Ontario Trees & Shrubs

Rhamnus alnifolia at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Rhamnus alnifolia on the USDA Forest Service's Fire Effects Information Database

Rhamnus alnifolia on the Plant Conservation Alliance’s Alien Plant Working Group Least Wanted List

Rhamnus alnifolia at the University of Wisconsin's Robert W. Freckmann Herbarium

Rhamnus lanceolata ssp. glabrata at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Rhamnus alnifolia from the Jepson Manual

References:

Petrides, George A., Peterson Field Guides: Trees and Shrubs, Houghton Mifflin Co., 1972, p. 266

Rhamnus alnifolia (Alderleaf Buckthorn)

By Bryan A. Connolly, Massachusetts State Botanist, Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program, Division of Fisheries and Wildlife · 12/18/2007 · Sheffield, MA

Rhamnus alnifolia description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 16 Aug 2013.

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Rhamnus alnifolia (Alderleaf Buckthorn)

By Bryan A. Connolly, Massachusetts State Botanist, Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program, Division of Fisheries and Wildlife · 12/18/2007 · Sheffield, MA

Range:

About this map...