Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Northeast Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Rhamnus alnifolia L'Her.
- Family: Buckthorn (Rhamnaceae)
- Flowering: May-July
- Field Marks: This shrubby species is the only buckthorn that has separate male and female
flowers usually on separate plants, no petals, and 5 sepals.
- Habitat: Low woods, wet meadows, swamps, bogs, fens.
- Habit: Shrub to 2 1/2 feet tall, the branches forking and upright.
- Stems: Twigs slender, red or brown, finely hairy; buds ovoid, up to 1/4 inch long; leaf scars half-round, slightly elevated, with 3 bundle traces.
- Leaves: Alternate, simple, elliptic to oval, rounded to pointed at the tip, rounded or tapering to the base, finely toothed, smooth or nearly so, up to 4 inches long, up to 2 inches wide; leaf stalks slender, smooth.
- Flowers: 1-3 in the axils of the leaves, the male and female usually borne separately and on different plants.
- Sepals: 5, united below to form a bell, the lobes triangular, pointed, smooth.
- Petals: 0.
- Stamens: 5, free from each other and not attached to the sepals.
- Pistils: Ovary superior; styles usually 4.
- Fruits: Drupes spherical, black, up to 1/4 inch in diameter, with 3 seeds; seeds flat, shallowly grooved.
- Notes: The fleshy fruits are eaten by birds.
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