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Common Buckthorn

Rhamnus cathartica • European Buckthorn

Non-native (Invasive)

Common buckthorn is a small shrub that typically grows 2-3 meters but can reach up to 6 meters tall. It is native to Eurasia but was introduced to North America in the 1800’s as an ornamental shrub and has now spread aggressively throughout Southern Ontario. Common buckthorn can thrive in a wide range of soil and light conditions, enabling it to invade a variety of habitats. It is most often found in woodlands and open fields, where it forms dense stands under which few other plants can grow. It is listed as a noxious weed under Ontario’s Weed Control Act.



Dark green, hairless leaves. 3-5 up-curved veins per side. Tips pointed and slightly folded and curved back. Slightly toothed edges.


Greyish-brown with elongated lenticels (pores). Smooth bark that peels in curly-edged sheets.


Green to red to purplish-black, berry-like clusters. Fruit in late summer and early fall.


2-6 small greenish-yellow flowers in compact clusters.

186 Trees

Heritage Tree

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  • Heritage Tree No. {{property.recognition_number}}
  • Age: {{property.tree_age}} years
  • Height: {{property.tree_height}} metres
  • Circumference: {{property.tree_circumference}} centimetres