Rhamnus alnifolia

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Rhamnus alnifolia
Rhamnus alnifolia NRCS-1.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Rosales
Family: Rhamnaceae
Genus: Rhamnus
R. alnifolia
Binomial name
Rhamnus alnifolia

Rhamnus alnifolia is a species of flowering plant in the buckthorn family known by the common names alderleaf buckthorn,[1] or alder buckthorn. Unlike other "buckthorns", this alder buckthorn does not have thorns.[2] It is native to North America, where it is known mainly from the southern half of Canada and the northern half of the United States and California.[3][4] It can be found in forested habitat.


Rhamnus alnifolia is a spreading shrub usually 0.5 to 1.5 metres (20 to 59 inches) tall,[5] rarely to 2 m (6+12 ft), its thin branches bearing deciduous leaves.[6] The thin, deeply veined leaves have oval blades 4.5 to 11 centimetres (1+34 to 4+38 in) long, pointed at the tip and lightly toothed along the edges.[5] The inflorescence is a solitary flower or umbel of up to three flowers occurring in leaf axils. The tiny flowers are about 1 millimetre (116 in) wide[6] and have five green sepals but no petals.[7] Female flowers produce drupes 6 to 8 mm (14 to 516 in) wide, each containing three seeds. The drupes darken to black when ripe.[5]


Native Americans used the species as a laxative.[8]


  1. ^ USDA, NRCS (n.d.). "Rhamnus alnifolia". The PLANTS Database (plants.usda.gov). Greensboro, North Carolina: National Plant Data Team. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  2. ^ Catling, P.M., and Z.S. Porebski. 1994. The history of invasion and current status of glossy buckthorn, Rhamnus frangula, in Southern Ontario. Canadian Field-Naturalist 108:305–310
  3. ^ "Rhamnus alnifolia". County-level distribution map from the North American Plant Atlas (NAPA). Biota of North America Program (BONAP). 2014.
  4. ^ "Rhamnus alnifolia". State-level distribution map from the North American Plant Atlas (NAPA). Biota of North America Program (BONAP). 2014.
  5. ^ a b c Nesom, Guy L. (2016). "Rhamnus alnifolia". In Flora of North America Editorial Committee (ed.). Flora of North America North of Mexico (FNA). Vol. 12. New York and Oxford – via eFloras.org, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
  6. ^ a b Jepson Flora Project (ed.). "Rhamnus alnifolia". Jepson eFlora. The Jepson Herbarium, University of California, Berkeley.
  7. ^ Chayka, Katy; Dziuk, Peter (2016). "Rhamnus alnifolia (Alder-leaved Buckthorn)". Minnesota Wildflowers.
  8. ^ Arno, Stephen F.; Hammerly, Ramona P. (2020) [1977]. Northwest Trees: Identifying & Understanding the Region's Native Trees (field guide ed.). Seattle: Mountaineers Books. p. 266. ISBN 1-68051-329-X. OCLC 1141235469.

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