FIELD GUIDE TO SHRUBS

Common Buckthorn
Rhamnus cathartica

Family: Rhamnaceae

Preferred Habitat: lightly shaded conditions, invader mainly of open oak woods, openings in woodlands, and woods edges, may be found in prairies and open fields

Range: has become naturalized from Nova Scotia to Saskatchewan, south to Missouri, and east to New England

Height: up to 7.5 meters (25 feet)

Leaves: opposite, simple, ovate to elliptic, 2.5 to 7 cm long, curved venation similar to dogwood leaves, glossy surface

Flowers: mostly dioecious, small, yellow-green, 4-petaled, occur in 2-5 flowered clusters

Fruit: berry-like drupe, 1 cm in diameter spherical, shiny black

Location spotted: Beaver Creek Park; Belmont, Massachusetts

Extra information: an introduced small deciduous shrub that readily escapes cultivation, invading native areas and landscapes