Rhamnus cathartica is a species in the family Rhamnaceae, native to Europe, northwest Africa, and western Asia, from the central British Isles south to Morocco, and east to Kyrgyzstan.
It is a deciduous shrub or small tree growing to 6–8 m tall, with grey-brown bark and spiny branches. The leaves are elliptic to oval, 2.5–9 cm long and 1.2–3.5 cm broad; they are green, turning yellow in autumn, and are arranged somewhat variably in opposite to subopposite pairs or alternately. The flowers are yellowish-green, with four petals; they are dioecious and insect pollinated. The fruit is a globose black drupe 6–10 mm diameter containing two to four seeds; it is mildly poisonous for people, but readily eaten by birds, which disperse the seeds in their droppings.
The common buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica) is shade-tolerant, moderately fast-growing and short lived. This species is a tough, durable tree which adapts to urban or suburban environments; and virtually any area it is dispersed in. It is widely regarded as a major invasive species whose shade prevents the establishment of native trees or shrubs. It has become the tagret of endless efforts to eradicate it from homesites, parks and woodland areas.
Genus - Rhamnus
Species - Cathartica
Common name - European Buckthorn
Pre-Treatment - Required
Hardiness zones - 3 - 8
Height - 10'-20' / 3 - 6 m
Spread - 5'-10' / 1.50 - 3 m
Plant type - Shrub
Vegetation type - Deciduous
Exposure - Full Sun, Partial Sun
Growth rate - Medium
Soil PH - Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline
Soil type - Light (sandy), medium (loamy), heavy (clay)
Water requirements - Average Water
Landscape uses - Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; Hedge
Bloom season - Spring, early summer
Leaf / Flower color - Green / Yellow
1. Soak the buckthorn in warm water for 24 hours. Remove the seeds from water and put them into a 10 percent bleach solution. Allow them to soak for another 20 minutes. Ten percent equals 10 parts water to one part bleach. Soaking the seeds in bleach prevents the fungal infection of cotyledon.
2. Fill 5-10 cm diameter pots with potting soil. The best time to do this is from December to early February. You can stratify for 60-90 days inside mixing the seeds after soaking with the moist vermiculite and sterile soil. Keep in the fridge at +2-+4C (40F).
3. Sow outside or after the pretreatment inside only one seed per pot, planting them at a depth of 8-10 mm deep.
4. Place the pots in a window that has bright light, but keep out of direct sunlight. Keep the soil warm around room temperature (~+20C / 68F).
5. Mist the pots to keep the soil moist, but not soggy.
Keep the buckthorn shrubs in the pots for at least 3 months. Then plant outdoors in the prepared place.
Water the buckthorn shrubs once a week thoroughly.
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