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You are here: Home / Plants / Species Profiles / Common Buckthorn
Species Profiles

Common Buckthorn

Common buckthorn - Invasive.orgScientific name: Rhamnus cathartica L. (ITIS)

Common names: Common buckthorn, European buckthorn, Hart's thorn, European waythorn

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Selected Resources

Native To: Europe and Western Asia (Knight et al. 2007)

Date of U.S. Introduction: Early 1800s, or possibly earlier (Knight et al. 2007)

Means of Introduction: Introduced as an ornamental (Knight et al. 2007)

Impact: Forms dense stands that dominate ecosystems and displace native species (Mascaro et al. 2007)

Current U.S. Distribution: Northeastern, Midwestern, and Western U.S.



Selected Resources:

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Invasive Plants of Ohio: Fact Sheet 2 - Common & Glossy Buckthorns (PDF | 297 KB)
Ohio Invasive Plants Council.
Included as one of the worst invasive plant species in Ohio's natural areas; for others see Invasive Plants of Ohio.

Fact Sheet: Common Buckthorn (Jan 2014; PDF | 756 KB)
Alberta Invasive Plants Council (Canada).


Invasive Plant Atlas of New England (IPANE) - Common buckthorn)
University of Georgia. Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health.

Invasive Plant Atlas of the United States - European Buckthorn
University of Georgia. Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health.

New York Invasive Species Information - Buckthorn
New York Invasive Species Clearinghouse.

Invasive Species Compendium - Rhamnus cathartica
CAB International.

Global Invasive Species Database - Rhamnus cathartica (tree)
World Conservation Union. Invasive Species Specialist Group.


Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN) - Rhamnus cathartica
USDA. ARS. National Genetic Resources Program.

Common Buckthorn, Glossy Buckthorn - Forest Invasive Plants Resource Center (PDF | 280 KB)
USDA. FS. Northeastern Area. State and Private Forestry.

Fire Effects Information System (FEIS) - Rhamnus cathartica, R. davurica
USDA. FS. Rocky Mountain Research Station. Fire Sciences Laboratory.

PLANTS Database - Common Buckthorn
USDA. NRCS. National Plant Data Center.

Common Buckthorn
DOI. NPS. Mississippi National River and Recreation Area.


Common Buckthorn (PDF | 813 KB)
Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

Invasive Species Best Control Practices - Common Buckthorn (2012; PDF | 2.40 MB)
Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Michigan Natural Features Inventory.

Common Buckthorn
Missouri Department of Conservation.

Common Buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica)
Ohio Department of Natural Resources. Division of Forestry.

Invasive Plants in Pennsylvania: Common Buckthorn (PDF | 667 KB)
Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

Common Buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica)
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.


Maine Invasive Plants Bulletin: Common Buckthorn and Glossy Buckthorn
University of Maine. Cooperative Extension.

Introduced Species Summary Project - Common Buckthorn
Columbia University. Center for Environmental Research and Conservation.


Best Management Practices in Ontario - Invasive Common (European) Buckthorn (Apr 2012; PDF | 3.03 MB)
Ontario Invasive Species Council (Canada).

Common Buckthorn
Plant Conservation Alliance. Alien Plant Working Group.


Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Rhamnus cathartica. [Accessed Sep 10, 2014].

Knight, K.S., J.S. Kurylo, A.G. Endress, J.R. Stewart, and P.B. Reich. 2007. Ecology and ecosystem impacts of common buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica): a review (PDF | 247 KB) Biological Invasions 9:925-937.

Mascaro, J., and S.A. Schnitzer. 2007. Rhamnus cathartica L. (common buckthorn) as an ecosystem dominant in southern Wisconsin forests. Northeastern Naturalist 14(3):387-402.

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Last Modified: Nov 19, 2015
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