: European buckthorn
: Produces a dense shade that suppresses growth of tree and shrub seedlings, and native herbaceous groundcover, reduces overall plant diversity; changes nutrient cycling by increasing nitrogen and carbon; had been widely recommended for conservation planting until invasive characteristics became apparent.
: Deciduous; woody shrub to small tree ranging from 3-7.5 m (10-25 ft) in height and reaching 25 cm (10 in) in diameter.
: Simple, opposite to sub-opposite, oval, dark green in color, smooth and shiny, small teeth along margins, veins that curve from base towards leaf tip, leaf out early, long growing season.
: One to several stems from the base; stems branch towards the crown; twigs with thorns often found near the tips; bark is brown to gray, peeling with age, dotted with vertical light-colored lenticels; inner bark is orange.
: Small, green-yellow, four-petaled, clustered in leaf axils, fragrant; bloom May to June.
Fruit and seeds
: Fruit is a round, pea-size, black berry (on female plants only), persistent through the winter.
: Widely planted as an ornamental shrub in hedge rows; now found along roadsides, woodland edges, prairies, old fields; somewhat shade tolerant.
: By prolific fruit and seed production, seeds widely dispersed by birds.
: Native alder-leaved buckthorn (Rhamnus alnifolia
) is less than 1 m (3 ft) in height with dark scales on winter buds; non-native glossy buckthorn (Rhamnus frangula
) has shiny entire leaves, always lacks terminal thorn.
Monitoring and rapid response
: Monitor woodland edges and paths. Buckthorn leafs out early and retains its leaves late into fall. Begin control efforts in highest quality areas; hand pull or dig seedlings or small plants; target large, fruit-bearing plants for control/removal; foliar spraying may be effective for large populations where there are few natives present; treat cut stumps with herbicide as stumps sprout; basal bark treatment also effective. Where fuel is present, prescribed fire may provide effective control of seedlings in fire adapted communities.
: The Michigan Natural Features Inventory
(MNFI) has partnered with MISIN to provide the information in this fact sheet. Species images and/or information were used with permission from "A Field Identification Guide to Invasive Plants in Michigan's Natural Communities
" and "A Field Guide to Invasive Plants of Aquatic and Wetland Habitats for Michigan