Image for Alderleaf Buckthorn

Alderleaf Buckthorn

Scientific name

Rhamnus alnifolia


Alderleaf Buckthorn is a small, deciduous shrub species that can grow about 1 m tall. This species produces a full crown with all branches arising from one main stem. The leaves are alternately arranged, shiny green, 3-10 cm long, egg shaped with a pointed tip, and have slightly toothed margins. The flowers are small, greenish yellow colored, appear on stalkless, flat-topped clusters on lower leaf joints, and bloom between May and June. These flowers produce berries in the fall that are bluish black in color, 6-9 mm wide, with flat hard seeds inside. These berries are beneficial to wildlife species, like birds and small mammals but are toxic to humans. The root system is valuable for controlling erosion. This native plant should not be confused with the invasive Common Buckthorn.

Planting conditions

Alderleaf Buckthorn grows best in wet or moist conditions with partial sun exposure. It grows well in a variety of soil types. It is tolerant to full shade and periodically flooded areas. It is naturally found in wet forests, wet meadows, marshes, and along lake or stream shorelines.


  • Plant height:
    • Max 1.5m
    • Max 2m
    • Max 3m
    • Any
  • Moisture level:
    • Moist
    • Wet
    • Flood Tolerant
  • Light conditions:
    • Partial sun
    • Shade
  • Soil type:
    • Sandy
    • Loamy
    • Clay
    • Humus
    • Rocky
  • pH:
    • Normal
  • Depth:
    • Potted
    • Bareroot
  • Eco Zone:
    • 1a
    • 1b
    • 2a
    • 2b
    • 3a
    • 3b
    • 4a
    • 4b
    • 5a
    • 5b
    • 6a
    • 6b
  • Plant type:
    • Shrub
  • Height:
    • 1 m
  • Spread:
    • 1 m