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Family Icon Family: Rhamnaceae
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Categories: Peel

Frangula alnus

Alder buckthorn

Alder buckthorn is a non-spiny deciduous shrub, growing to 3–6 m occasionally to 7 m tall. It is usually multi-stemmed, but rarely forms a small tree with a trunk diameter of up to 20 cm. The bark is dark blackish-brown, with bright lemon-yellow inner bark exposed if cut. The shoots are dark brown, protected by the densely hairy outer leaves.

The leaves are arranged alternately on 8–15-millimetre petioles. They are ovate, 3–7 cm long by 2.5–4 cm wide (rarely to 11 cm in by 6 cm). They have 6–10 pairs of prominently grooved and slightly downy veins and an entire margin.

The flowers are small, 3–5 mm in diameter, star-shaped with five greenish-white acute triangular petals, hermaphroditic, and insect-pollinated.

The fruit is a small black berry 6–10 mm in diameter, ripening from green through red in late summer to dark purple or black in early autumn, containing two or three pale brown 5-millimetre seeds.