Common Buckthorn seems to be expanding along the Susquehanna River

If you go down by the Susquehanna River you can see just how extensive the buckthorn invasion is, since most other trees have dropped their leaves but buckthorn hasn’t, so you can see the extent of their hold.  They look harmless  but they are not. Here’s a nice summary from Wisconsin:

Common buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica)

Tall understory shrub or small tree up to 20-25’ tall, often with several stems arising from the base, and spreading crown. Gray to brown bark with prominent light-colored lenticels. (Caution: native plums and cherries have a similar bark). Plants are either male or female. Cut bark exposes yellow sapwood and orange heartwood. Twigs often end in stout thorns.


Regulated areas of common buckthorn
Common buckthorn is Restricted (Orange counties)

Other names for this plant include:

  • Common names: Carolina buckthorn, European buckthorn

Ecological threat:

  • Invades oak forests, riparian woods, savannas, prairies, old fields, and roadsides. It thrives particularly on well-drained soils.
  • Common buckthorn has a broad environmental tolerance. It leafs out very early and retains its leaves late into the growing season, giving them a longer growing season than native plants.
  • Creates dense shade, eliminating regeneration of tree seedlings and understory species.
  • Allelopathic; produces chemical compounds that inhibit the growth of other vegetation.

Classification in Wisconsin: Restrictedbuckthorn

Author: luzerne2112

As I get older -- and I'm 70 now -- I seem to find more and more that nature is the true source of peace, inspiration and, most of all, the truth the passeth understanding. Though my knowledge is sketchy and superficial, I wanted to share it while I can.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s