glossy buckthorn

(Frangula alnus)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not yet assessed

glossy buckthorn

NatureServe

NNA - Not applicable

SNA - Not applicable

Minnesota

not listed

Wetland
Indicator
Status

Great Plains

FAC - Facultative

Midwest

FACW - Facultative wetland

Northcentral & Northeast

FAC - Facultative

Weed Status

RN – Restricted noxious weed

Invasive

Nativity

Native to Europe, Asia, and northern Africa. Introduced and naturalized in North America.

Occurrence

 

Habitat

Wet to moist. Forest margins, river banks, lake shores, calcareous wetlands, ditches. Full sun to partial shade.

Flowering

Late May to mid-August

     
Flower Color

Yellowish or greenish

     
Height

up to 23

     

Identification

This is a fast-growing tall shrub or small tree that rises on 1 or more stems. It can be up to 23 tall and up to 4 in diameter at breast height, though in Minnesota it is usually no more than 18 in height.

The crown is open and spreading.

The bark is smooth, thin, gray or grayish-brown, with prominent, warty, slightly raised lenticels. On older stems the bark may become shallowly fissured.

First-year twigs are slender and greenish and/or reddish-brown. They are covered with minute, fine, gray hairs, at least on the last ½, though this may require a hand lens to see. Second-year twigs are brown with a gray, flaky outer layer. There is no thorn at the tip of the twig. Buds are tan or rust-colored. They have no scales but are instead covered with a shriveled up leaf. Leaf scars have 3 bundle scars.

The leaves are alternate, deciduous, inversely egg-shaped to elliptical, 1½ to 3 long, and 1 to 1½ wide. They are on hairy, 3 16 to ¾ long leaf stalks. They are tapered at the base and abruptly pointed or occasionally rounded at the tip. There are 6 to 9 lateral veins on each side of the midrib. The veins are straight and parallel but curve up near the margin and follow the margin. They are depressed on the upper side of the leaf and stand out on the underside. The upper surface of the leaf blade is dark green, hairless, and glossy, giving this plant its common name. The lower surface is somewhat paler green and dull. It is sometimes hairless, more often covered with minute hairs at least along the main vein, though this may not be visible without a hand lens. The margins are untoothed. The leaves stay green into late fall.

The inflorescence is a stalkless, umbrella-like cluster (umbel) of 1 to 8 flowers rising from the leaf axils of the current year’s twigs.

The flowers are bell-shaped, small and inconspicuous, to 3 16 wide. They have 5 yellowish or greenish petals. Each flower is on a to long, usually hairy flower stalk. They appear in late May to mid-August after the leaves have formed.

The fruit is a berry-like, ¼ to 7 16 in diameter drupe. It is green at first, soon turning red, eventually turning purplish-black at maturity. It matures in early August to late September and falls to the ground before winter. The flowering period is very long. It is not unusual to see flowers and fruits at various stages of maturity on the same twig.

 
Similar
Species

Common buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica) has thorns at the end of many of its twigs. The leaves are usually sub-opposite or opposite, only occasionally alternate. There are 3 to 5 strongly curved lateral veins on each side that arch toward the tip. The upper surface is not glossy. The margins are finely toothed. The flowers and fruit are in clusters of no more than 5. The fruit remains on the twig long into winter.


Distribution Distribution Map   Sources: 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 22, 28.

Comments

 


Taxonomy

Family:

Rhamnaceae (buckthorn)

 

Tribe:

Rhamneae

 
Synonyms

Rhamnus frangula

Rhamnus frangula var. angustifolia

 
Common
Names

alder buckthorn

columnar buckthorn

European buckthorn

fen buckthorn

glossy buckthorn

shining buckthorn

tall hedge buckthorn


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

axil

The upper angle where a branch, stem, leaf stalk, or vein diverges.

 

calcareous

Alkaline; rich in limestone; containing a high proportion of calcium carbonate.

 

drupe

A fleshy fruit with a single hard, stone-like core, like a cherry or peach.

 

lenticel

A corky, round or stripe-like, usually raised, pore-like opening in bark that allows for gas exchange.

 

umbel

A flat-topped or convex, umbrella-shaped cluster of flowers or buds arising from more or less a single point.

       

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Inflorescence

  glossy buckthorn   glossy buckthorn
       

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  glossy buckthorn    
       
       

 

Camera

     

Slideshows

   
  Frangula alnus (Rhamnaceae)
Laura Roig·
 
   
 
About

Published on May 12, 2013

GRIN - Taxonomic information http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs/html/taxon.pl?105534

PFAF - http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Rhamnus+frangula

 
     

 

slideshow

     

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Other Videos

 
  Glossy Buckthorn ID
OutsmartProject
 
   
 
About

Published on Sep 3, 2012

Learn to identify the invasive shrub Glossy Buckthorn in this fast paced video field guide. Download the free Outsmart Invasive Species App to your smartphone and you can bring this and other videos into the field!

Download at iTunes:
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/outsmart-invasive-species/id499957573?mt=8

Download at Google Play:
https://play.google.com/store/search?q=outsmart+invasive+species&c=apps

Project Homepage:
http://masswoods.net/outsmart

 
     
  Infestation of Glossy Buckthorn
Ian Shackleford
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Mar 12, 2011

An infestation of glossy buckthorn (Rhamnus frangula). Ottawa National Forest, Ontonagon Ranger District, Compartment 82, Stand 40. Ontonagon County, Michigan. September 27, 2010. Pretty much all the green in the video is the non-native invasive plant glossy buckthorn.

 
     

 

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