A large family, widely spread throughout the globe, but with very few European genera.

Rhamnus L. Buckthorn

Shrubs with alternate, entire leaves, and small green flowers on short pedicels, usually clustered in the axils of the leaves. Petals none or very small. Calyx with 4 or 5 short deciduous teeth. Stamens 4 or 5, alternating with the teeth of the calyx, and inserted on a disk. Ovary free, 3 or 4-celled. Style very short. Fruit a small berry (or drupe), enclosing 3 or 4 small nuts. A rather large genus, spread over the northern hemisphere of both Old and New World, and penetrating into the tropics.

Rhamnus Pumila Turra

A small under-shrub, with prostrate branches, clinging to the rocks. Leaves entire, finely toothed, with 4-7 somewhat curved lateral parallel veins on each side of the midrib. Flowers in small axillary cymes, unisexual, greenish, very small. Petals narrow or wanting. Sepals with 4 lanceolate lobes.

Calcareous rocks of the Alps and lower Alps up to about 7200 feet, and occasionally higher in Savoie. June, July.


Eastern, Central, and Western Alps; Pyrenees, Corbieres, Bavaria.

Rhamnus Alpina L. Alpine Buckthorn

A much larger (erect) shrub, 1-3 yards high. Leaves large, oval, suddenly contracted into a triangular apex, or sometimes obtuse, lateral veins, 8-14. Flowers similar. Lobes of the calyx triangular.

Dry, rocky places, and among debris up to 5500 feet. May, June.


Western Europe, Jura, Alps, Cevennes, Corbieres, Pyrenees, Italy, Switzerland, Sardinia, Spain; Morocco, Algeria, Western Asia.