Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Carolina Buckthorn, Indian Cherry
Frangula caroliniana

Family: Rhamnaceae
Genus: Frangula (FRANG-yoo-luh) (Info)
Species: caroliniana (kair-oh-lin-ee-AN-uh) (Info)

Synonym:Rhamnus caroliniana
Synonym:Rhamnus caroliniana var. mollis

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4 members have or want this plant for trade.

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Unknown - Tell us

15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade

All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:
Pale Yellow

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer

Grown for foliage
Good Fall Color

Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)
7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Unblemished fruit must be significantly overripe before harvesting seed; clean and dry seeds

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There are a total of 16 photos.
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3 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive FlyPoison On Oct 10, 2014, FlyPoison from Rock Hill, SC (Zone 7a) wrote:

What a great plant! It's offers a little bit of everything. It grows well with little sun and is very drought tolerant. I planted my first one this past Winter and it bloomed and produced quite a few berries for such a small tree. It seems to be very happy and the birds love the fruit that's finally turning black, after staying red all summer. The fruits are very attractive for quite some time. I've been more than impressed. It's too early to determine whether or not it'll provide good Fall color here but regardless more will be planted in my wooded preserve.

Positive Super65 On Jul 21, 2010, Super65 from Belton, TX wrote:

This little tree is very common as an understory in Mother Neff state park. Most of them are less than 10' and thinly leaved. I have seen others in Bell County in more open conditions that are larger. The leaves are richly dark and the berries are attractive.
It would make an interesting landscape selection.

Positive htop On Jul 20, 2005, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

This is small, deciduous native tree or shrub can reach a height of 20 ft., but usually is 12-15 ft. tall. It has a spreading crown of many slender branches and angled twigs which lack thorns (even though it is named "buckthorn"). It has a multi-trunked habit and form that requires pruning or training to produce a small tree. It was discovered in South Carolina which explains its common and Latin species names. It has a moderate growth rate and is found most often over basic rock.

The 2" to 6" alternate, simple, glossy, elliptical to oblong leaves are dark green. They have a fine teeth. The veins are parallel; but, near edges of the leaf turn and follow the edge. They are to a slight degree paler beneath. In fall, the leaves turn yellow. The smooth gray-brown bark may have darker blotches and a few slightly raised lenticels. It may become shallowly fissured on larger stems. The reddish brown with gray pubescent, slender twigs have a strong almond smell when broken. The fuzzy brown naked buds are quite distinctive.

The showy, 1/3 inch, red berries which turn black by mid-fall and contain 3 seeds appear in small clusters. They are preceded by pale green to yellow bloom clusters. The bell-shaped, very small, inconspicuous blooms appear in the leaf axils after the tree the leafs out in the spring. Songbirds and other wildlife consume the berries.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Vincent, Alabama
Cord, Arkansas
Harrison, Arkansas
Huntington, Arkansas
Little Rock, Arkansas
Morrilton, Arkansas
Shawnee Mission, Kansas
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Lincoln, Nebraska
Broken Bow, Oklahoma
Rock Hill, South Carolina
Christiana, Tennessee
Dickson, Tennessee
Pulaski, Tennessee
Arlington, Texas
Austin, Texas (4 reports)
Belton, Texas
De Leon, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas
Moody, Texas
New Caney, Texas
Pflugerville, Texas
San Antonio, Texas

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