Ontario Trees & Shrubs website

Alder-leaved Buckthorn
Rhamnus alnifolia

Other common names: Dwarf Alder, Dwarf Alder

French names: Nerprun feuilles d'aulne

Family: Buckthorn Family (Rhamnaceae)

Group: Buckthorns

Distinctive features: Shrub; Wet areas.

Similar species:
  •   Common Buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica) - grows in drier places.

  •   Glossy Buckthorn (Frangula alnus) - this species also grows in wetlands, but not as wet.

  •   Green Alder (Alnus viridis)

  •   Speckled Alder (Alnus incana)
  •   European Black Alder (Alnus glutinosa)

Flowers: Spring, Summer;  Green/Brown;  5 parts (petals)

Leaves: Alternate;  Glossy. Alternate.

Height: Up to 1 m (3 ft)

Fruit/Seeds: Dark berries. Not edible.

Habitat: Wet Areas;  Wet areas. Widespread throughout Ontario.

Books: Shrubs of Ontario: 307    Newcomb's Wildflower Guide: 310   

Native/Non-native: Native

Status: Common in wet areas.

Notes: This is our native buckthorn. It may be hard to identify, as there are several other similar shrubs which grow in wet areas alongside it.

Origin and Meaning of Names:
 Scientific Name: alnifolia: alder-leaved

Photographs: 110 photographs available, of which 8 are featured on this page. SCROLL DOWN FOR PHOTOGRAPHS.

Range Map is at the bottom of the page
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Alder-leaved Buckthorn (Rhamnus alnifolia)

Alder-leaved Buckthorn doesn't grow very big - they are usually less than 3 feet tall. Here's a clump of them.

Alder-leaved Buckthorn (Rhamnus alnifolia)

Alder-leaved Buckthorn (Rhamnus alnifolia)

Alder-leaved Buckthorn likes to grow in wet areas. Here's one on the edge of a pond.

Alder-leaved Buckthorn (Rhamnus alnifolia)

The general growth form of this shrub.

Alder-leaved Buckthorn (Rhamnus alnifolia)

Upper side of a leaf. Note its glossy sheen.

Alder-leaved Buckthorn (Rhamnus alnifolia)

Underside of the same leaf. Also glossy.

Alder-leaved Buckthorn (Rhamnus alnifolia)

The stipules at the base of the petioles, which are a diagnostic feature of this plant.

The "stipules" are those tiny things sticking out at the base of the leaf stalk (petiole).

Alder-leaved Buckthorn (Rhamnus alnifolia)

The dark-coloured berries. They are not edible.
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Range map for Alder-leaved Buckthorn (Rhamnus alnifolia)

PLEASE NOTE: A coloured Province or State means this species occurs somewhere in that Province/State.
The entire Province/State is coloured, regardless of where in that Province/State it occurs.

(Range map provided courtesy of the USDA website and is displayed here in accordance with their Policies)