Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Southern Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Rhamnus caroliniana Walter
- Family: Buckthorn (Rhamnaceae)
- Flowering: May-June
- Field Marks: This buckthorn lacks spiny-tipped twigs, but has very fine teeth along the edges,
unlike any other species in the genus.
- Habitat: Low woods, along streams, wooded slopes, glades, thickets, ravines, hammocks.
- Habit: Tree to 30 feet tall; trunk diameter up to 6 inches; crown spreading.
- Bark: Gray, somewhat roughened.
- Twigs: Slender, gray or pale brown, smooth or somewhat hairy.
- Leaves: Alternate, simple, elliptic, pointed or nearly rounded at the tip, tapering or rounded
at the base, usually finely toothed along the edges, dark green, smooth and shiny on the upper
surface, paler and smooth or hairy on the lower surface, up to 6 inches long, up to 2 inches wide.
- Flowers: Few in umbrella-like clusters, appearing when the leaves are nearly grown.
- Sepals: 5, green, united below.
- Petals: 5, greenish or cream, free from each other, about 1/8 inch long.
- Stamens: 5.
- Pistils: Ovary superior.
- Fruits: Drupes spherical, red and shiny when mature, up to 1/3 inch in diameter, containing
- Notes: The wood is used for fuel. The shiny leaves and red drupes make this tree a desirable
ornamental. This tree is often called Indian cherry.
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