Skip to main content
  1. Species/

Rhamnus cathartica

Common Names: European Buckthorn, Common Buckthorn
Rhamnus cathartica
Rhamnus cathartica

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Tracheophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Rosales
Family: Rhamnaceae
Genus: Rhamnus
Species: Rhamnus cathartica

Conservation Status

Identifying Features

European buckthorn is a shrub with brown and corky bark. The inner bark is yellow.

Leaves are opposite and simple, although a few may be alternate. The leavees are 2" long, rounded, and fine-toothed. The ends of the twigs have thorns.

Habitat & Range

Native to Europe, European buckthorn is invasive in North America, spreading throughout much of the United States and southern Canada.

Life Cycle

The fruit is a dark blue berry, about 1/4" wide.

Featured image by James Dake.


Elaeagnus umbellata
Autumn Olive
Malus pumila
Common Apple
Potentilla simplex
Common Cinquefoil