Frangula alnus  (Rhamnus frangula) European Buckthorn; glossy buckthorn Rhamnaceae RHFR*p; Bx, br, pb, sf; NY ct; Q, a, cu, f, j, wl; K; R, h, pr, sm, t, x; 


Rhamnus frangula. Copyright © 2001 by Kevin C. (Accessed 7/2014).

Rhamnus frangula is a shrub to 6 m tall, aggressively colonial by root sprouts; stump sprouts copiously when cut; bark gray, speckled with small whitish dots (lenticels), winter buds naked. 

Leaves alternate, widest above middle (obovate), entire, to 3-7 cm long, to 4 cm wide, base wedge-shaped, tip abruptly pointed, secondary veins 8-9 per side, pinnate, prominent and parallel. 

Rhamnus (Accessed 2/2017).

Flowers small, 5-parted, greenish, sexes separate on one plant (monoecious), in axillary clusters of 2-10; blooms May-June. 

Fruit fleshy, red turning blackish, to 0.6 cm wide, 2-seeded, July-Sept.(Dirr 1990; Rehder 1986), seeds bird dispersed. Shade and drought tolerant, displaces native understory shrubs, leafs out earlier and hold leaves longer than native plants (Tenenbaum 1996; Young 1996). 

Wetland status: FAC. 

Frequency in NYC: Occasional. 

Origin: Eurasia. 

Habitat: Closed, moist to wet forests and edges; soil pH 5-6.5, intolerant of shade, somewhat tolerant of salt (USDA, NRCS 2010). 

Notes: May be toxic (Kingsbury 1964). Listed as invasive or a noxious by several states (USDA, NRCS 2010).