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Buckthorn (Rhamnus catharticus)


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Buckthorn showing the female flowers. Buckthorns are dioecious i.e. there are separate male and female plants. This tree is female and will produce flower. Buckthorn is a shrub or small tree, up to 6m tall. It usually (but not always) has some thorns. The leaves are similar to those of dogwood with veins curving up to the tip, however the leaves are toothed and the twigs grey or brown rather than red. The flowers are white/green and appear in short clusters on short spurs below the new leaves. The berries are green and then turn black. It flowers from May to June. It is also know as Purging Buckthorn as the berries are a strong purgative (poisonous). Picture taken 26th May 2009 at Felmersham, Bedfordshire.

28th Aug 2009 by Diane Earl

Biology, Science

Key Stages:
Key Stage 2, Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4, Key Stage 4+

plant flower biology nature botany wild bush tree berry poison

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