Common Buckthorn Tree

Common Buckthorn fruit

Common Buckthorn foliage

Common Buckthorn

Common Buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica L.) -- also known as European buckthorn, Hart's thorn, European waythorn-- was brought to the U.S. in the mid-1880s as a hedging material and was quickly recognized as being aggressively invasive.  Buckthorn out-competes native plants, degrades wildlife habitat,  serves as a host to crown rust fungus and soybean aphid, and lacks any natural "controls" such as insects or diseases (from Minnesota Dept. of Natural Resources).

Resources

Forest Invasive Plants Resource Center posts a 6-page pdf that covers identifying characteristics, information on habitat, look-alike plants, life history and invasive behavior, impacts on foresters and forestry, suggested control methods, history and lore, and additional links and references.

Common Buckthorn (USDA) includes news releases, date of introduction, distribution data, management plans, and links to additional Federal, State and academic publications.

New York Invasive Species Clearing House (CCE Invasive Species Program) provides information on biology and identification, impacts, prevention and control, additional resources and links to educational materials. 

USDA Forest Service Plants Database provides extensive details on the Common Buckthorn's distribution and occurrence, botanical and ecological characteristics, information on seasonal development, vegetative regeneration, and much more.

Last updated June 24, 2015