Buckthorn - Rhamnus cathartica

Alternative names
Purging Buckthorn

Shrub or small tree to 6 metres. Old branches ending in a spine tip. Leaves oval, opposite or clustered, long stalked and toothed. Flowers greenish 3 to 4 mm in dense clusters arising from the older branches or solitary. The male and female flowers on separate plants. Berries black when ripe.

Identification difficulty

Woodland scrub and hedgerows.

When to see it

May and June.

Life History


UK Status

Fairly frequent in England but much less so in Scotland and Wales.

VC55 Status

Fairly frequent in Leicestershire and Rutland. In the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire it was found in 233 of the 617 tetrads.

Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map