Frangula caroliniana -- Carolina Buckthorn


Other names:   Carolina False Buckthorn, Indian Cherry, Yellow Buckthorn, Rhamnus caroliniana

Seed photos:  Laboratory Guide To Archaeological Plant Remains From Eastern North America and University of Missouri Extension.

Franklin Bronner, Forestry Images [6]

Troy Evans, Forestry Images [6]

Chris Evans, Forestry Images [6]


Native to North America, but not yet recorded in Michigan.
Fruits and leaves look very similar to Frangula alnus (Glossy Buckthorn), with leaves of Carolina Buckthorn usually larger and more elliptic than those of Glossy Buckthorn, although there is overlap. While the seeds of these two species are distinctive, the seeds of F. caroliniana are very similar to R. cathartica, and may not be distinguishable.

Glossy Buckthorn flowers and fruits almost continuously over the growing season, and flowers and fruits may appear together on the same plant/stem. Carolina Buckthorn flowers in summer and fruit ripens in fall.


(Numbers in photo captions are photo credits, listed in the "Photo Credits" tab at the top of the page)