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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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Council or Task Force

Invasive Plants of Ohio: Fact Sheet 2 - Common & Glossy Buckthorns (PDF | 297 KB)
Ohio Invasive Plants Council.
See also: Invasive Plants of Ohio for worst invasive plant species identified in Ohio's natural areas

Fact Sheet: Common Buckthorn (Jan 2014; PDF | 756 KB)
Alberta Invasive Species Council (Canada).
See also: Fact Sheets for more information about individual invasive species, including those listed as "Prohibited Noxious" and "Noxious" under the Alberta Weed Control Act


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)
IUCN. Species Survival Commission. Invasive Species Specialist Group.

Invaders Factsheet: Common Buckthorn
Ontario's Invading Species Awareness Program (Canada).

Federal Government

U.S. National Plant Germplasm System - Rhamnus cathartica
USDA. ARS. National Genetic Resources Program. GRIN-Global.

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.

Mississippi National River and Recreation Area - Common Buckthorn
DOI. National Park Service.

State Government

Invasive Species Best Control Practices - Common Buckthorn (2012; PDF | 263 KB)
Michigan Department of Natural Resource; Michigan State University Extension. Michigan Natural Features Inventory.
See also: Best Control Practice Guides for more guides

Field Guide: Invasive - Common Buckthorn
Missouri Department of Conservation.

Fact Sheet: Common Buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica) (2014; PDF | 224 KB)
New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, Markets, and Food. Division of Plant Industry.
See also: New Hampshire's Prohibited Invasive Plant Fact Sheets for additional invasive trees, shrubs, vines, and herbaceous plants

Common Ohio Trees - Common Buckthorn
Ohio Department of Natural Resources. Division of Forestry.

Invasive Plants in Pennsylvania: Common Buckthorn (PDF | 667 KB)
Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
See also: Invasive Plant Fact Sheets for plant species (trees, shrubs, vines, herbs and aquatic plants) that have impacted the state's natural lands

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


Maine Invasive Plants Bulletin: Common Buckthorn and Glossy Buckthorn
University of Maine. Cooperative Extension.
See also: Maine Invasive Plants & Entire Series for entire series of 22 fact sheets and invasive plants brochure (available in HTML/PDF or for purchase)

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


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: Aug 25, 2018
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