Glossy Buckthorn, Alder Buckthorn, Fernleaf Buckthorn, or Tallhedge Buckthorn 'Ron Williams'

Frangula alnus

Family: Rhamnaceae
Genus: Frangula (FRANG-yoo-luh) (Info)
Species: alnus (AL-nus) (Info)
Cultivar: Ron Williams
Additional cultivar information:(PP14791, aka Fine Line Ron Williams)
Hybridized by R. Williams
Registered or introduced: 2003
Synonym:Rhamnus frangula
Synonym:Rhamnus frangus var. angustifolia



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Water Requirements:

Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)


6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)


USDA Zone 2a: to -45.5 C (-50 F)

USDA Zone 2b: to -42.7 C (-45 F)

USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)

USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

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)

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade


All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:


Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer


Grown for foliage



Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

Unknown - Tell us

Seed Collecting:

N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed


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

Boise, Idaho

Shawnee Mission, Kansas

Uxbridge, Massachusetts

Blissfield, Michigan

Gaines, Michigan

Grandview, Missouri

Crete, Nebraska

New York City, New York

Coldwater, Ohio

Hamilton, Ohio

Salt Lake City, Utah

Bellingham, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Jun 12, 2016, kizilod from Uxbridge, MA wrote:

Although this cultivar is supposed to be non-invasive, the sale of all Rhamnus frangula plants are now banned in my state (Massachusetts). I planted two of these shrubs in 2007. I haven't noticed any self seeding from these shrubs. They have gotten larger than I was led to believe at the time of purchase. They are in part sun, and were 11' tall x 4' wide (335 cm x 120 cm) before I pruned them for the first time yesterday. The pruning was quite easy, and lower branches hide the cuts I made near the top.

I notice the description on this page says the plant requires consistently moist soil, but I only give mine supplemental water if I haven't had significant rain for a month.


On Dec 28, 2015, mathomhouse from Todd, NC wrote:

does anyone know if this plant is poisonous to livestock, goats in particular?


On Feb 11, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

With shrub honeysuckles, glossy buckthorn often forms solid understories in natural forest areas of northeastern North America. Like the honeysuckles, it leafs out very early, shading out the native herbaceous layer.

This spiny invasive species is a listed noxious weed, invasive, or banned in five states. Birds eat the fruit and then distribute the seed far and wide through the landscape.

This species was used for hedging in the 19th century, but it went out of use as better hedging plants became available.


On Jun 27, 2013, sybsflowers from Overland Park, KS wrote:

Five years ago the landscaper planted 3 of these 'hedges' on either side of my entrance. He led me to believe that they would not go above 6 feet. Three of them have and the other 2 have not. One of them died. They are still rather narrow and I would like to trim the tall ones to the size of the smaller ones without just chopping off the top. Any suggestions?


On May 16, 2010, janaestone from (Di) Seven Mile, OH (Zone 6b) wrote:

I have had this for 6 years in the same spot. It comes back beautifully every year but hardly gains anything in height - very slow grower.


On Mar 15, 2008, distantkin from Saint Cloud, MN (Zone 4b) wrote:

MN DNR states "European or common buckthorn and glossy or alder buckthorn are listed as restricted noxious weeds in Minnesota. It is illegal to import, sell, or transport buckthorn in Minnesota."


On Oct 25, 2004, jakestick1 from New York, NY (Zone 6a) wrote:

Great small tree for small property