Plantae > Tracheophyta > Magnoliopsida > Rosales > Rhamnaceae > Rhamnus > Rhamnus cathartica

Rhamnus cathartica (Hart's thorn; European buckthorn; European waythorn; common buckthorn; carolina buckthorn; nerprun cathartique)


Wikipedia Abstract

Rhamnus cathartica (buckthorn, common buckthorn or purging buckthorn) is a species of small tree in the flowering plant family Rhamnaceae. It is native to Europe, northwest Africa and western Asia, from the central British Isles south to Morocco, and east to Kyrgyzstan. It was introduced to North America as an ornamental shrub in the early 19th century or perhaps before, and is now naturalized in the northern half of the continent, and is classified as an invasive plant in several US states and in Ontario, Canada.
View Wikipedia Record: Rhamnus cathartica

Invasive Species

Rhamnus cathartica commonly known as common or European buckthorn is a deciduous small tree that prefers lightly shaded conditions. It is tolerant of many soil types and can be found in open oak woods, deadfall openings in woodlands and edges of woodlands. It may also be found in prairies and open fields. It tends to form dense, often even-aged thickets, crowding and shading out native shrubs and herbs. In fire-adapted ecosystems the lack of vegetation under buckthorn prohibits fires. R. cathartica is also an alternate host of the crown rust of oats. Fire is very effective in controlling R. cathartica and is a preferred method when the population is young. In wetlands water tables have been artificially lowered in order to attempt to control this species.
View ISSG Record: Rhamnus cathartica


Flower Type [1]  Dioecious
Hazards [1]  The fruit is purgative but not seriously poisonous; Other parts of the plant may also be poisonous;
Janka Hardness [2]  1040 lbf (472 kgf) Soft
Leaf Type [1]  Deciduous
Lifespan [3]  Perennial
Pollinators [1]  Insects, Lepidoptera
Specific Gravity [5]  0.611
Structure [1]  Shrub
Usage [1]  A green dye is obtained from the immature fruit; Mixed with gum arabic and limewater, it makes a green pigment used in watercolour painting; Yellow, orange and brownish dyes can also be obtained; The colours are rich but fugitive; A yellow dye is obtained from the bark; It has been used to colour paper and maps; Often grown as an informal hedge, it is also amenable to trimming; Wood - hard, handsome with a marble-like grain. Used for small turnery;
Height [1]  20 feet (6 m)
Width [1]  9.84 feet (3 m)
Light Preference [4]  Mostly Sunny
Soil Acidity [4]  Neutral
Soil Fertility [4]  Intermediate
Soil Moisture [4]  Moist
View Plants For A Future Record : Rhamnus cathartica

Protected Areas



Parasitized by 
Erysiphe friesii[8]


North America;

External References

USDA Plant Profile



Attributes / relations provided by
1Plants For A Future licensed under a Creative Commons License
2Wood Janka Hardness Scale/Chart J W Morlan's Unique Wood Gifts
3PLANTATT - Attributes of British and Irish Plants: Status, Size, Life History, Geography and Habitats, M. O. Hill, C. D. Preston & D. B. Roy, Biological Records Centre, NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (2004)
4ECOFACT 2a Technical Annex - Ellenberg’s indicator values for British Plants, M O Hill, J O Mountford, D B Roy & R G H Bunce (1999)
5Chave J, Coomes D, Jansen S, Lewis SL, Swenson NG, Zanne AE (2009) Towards a worldwide wood economics spectrum. Ecology Letters 12: 351-366. Zanne AE, Lopez-Gonzalez G, Coomes DA, Ilic J, Jansen S, Lewis SL, Miller RB, Swenson NG, Wiemann MC, Chave J (2009) Data from: Towards a worldwide wood economics spectrum. Dryad Digital Repository.
6Biological Records Centre Database of Insects and their Food Plants
7HOSTS - a Database of the World's Lepidopteran Hostplants Gaden S. Robinson, Phillip R. Ackery, Ian J. Kitching, George W. Beccaloni AND Luis M. Hernández
8Jorrit H. Poelen, James D. Simons and Chris J. Mungall. (2014). Global Biotic Interactions: An open infrastructure to share and analyze species-interaction datasets. Ecological Informatics.
9Ben-Dov, Y., Miller, D.R. & Gibson, G.A.P. ScaleNet 4 November 2009
10del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
11Birds and berries: a study of an ecological interaction. Calton, Great Britain, Snow B.K., Snow D.W., 1988, T & AD Poyser. 268 p.
Protected Areas provided by Biological Inventories of the World's Protected Areas in cooperation between the Information Center for the Environment at the University of California, Davis and numerous collaborators.
GBIF Global Biodiversity Information Facility
Natura 2000, UK data: © Crown copyright and database right [2010] All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100017955
Calvin College Ecosystem Preserve
Chippewa Nature Center
Western Michigan University’s Asylum Lake
Images provided by Plants For A Future licensed under a Creative Commons License
Abstract provided by DBpedia licensed under a Creative Commons License