Invasive Species -


Glossy Buckthorn
(Frangula alnus Mill.)

Photos & Description courtesy of IPANE

What Glossy Buckthorn does to the habitat

Grows in dense thickets and crowds out light, inhibiting native plants. The species also discourages native plants by decreasing the leaf litter (and hence nourishment of the soil) and increasing the nitrogen in the soil.


Barberry also changes the ph factor in the soil making it more difficult for native trees and there is no leaf litter on the soil around them which means more erosion and loss of nutrients in the soil.



Fire is used by some to manage Common b. Frequent mowing will also reduce growth.


Spray foliage with systemic herbicide which is best done late Summer or early Fall.


Common Name

Full Scientific Name

Glossy buckthorn
European alder buckthorn
Frangula alnus Mill.

Family Name Common

Family Scientific Name

Buckthorn family Frangula alnus



Botanical Glossary

Frangula alnus is a deciduous small tree or coarse shrub that grows up to 6 m (19.7 ft.) tall. It is often confused with Rhamnus cathartica (see similar species below). The young branchlets are pubescent. The short oblong to obovate leaves are 3-7 cm (1-2.5 in.) long and are arranged alternately. They are dark green (in the summer) and shining above, and glabrous or slightly pubescent beneath. The leaves turn greenish-yellow to yellow in the fall, and remain on the plant when most other species have already lost their leaves. The yellow-green flowers of Frangula alnus are bisexual and 5-merous, and arranged in 1-8 flowered sessile, glabrous umbels. This plant flowers after the leaves expand, from May to September . The fruit are globose drupes, changing from red to black, and are 0.6 cm (0.25 in.) across. They ripen from July to August. It is important to note that at any given time there can be flowers, partially ripened fruits (red) and fully ripened fruits (black) present on the same plant. Page References Bailey 645, Crow & Hellquist 243, Gleason & Cronquist 341, Holmgren 321, Magee & Ahles 724.

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