Glossy Buckthorn, Frangula alnus

Scientific Name: Frangula Alnus
Common Name(s): Glossy Buckthorn

INVASIVE to MAINE                                                Closer editing needed.

Research Summary: Dale F.
One of my research observations was that a lot of the websites had the same information. The beginning of my research was easy but it started to get harder because the same information was repeated on several other websites.

Something that surprised me about this species was that Frangula Alnus is poisonous to humans and certain animals.

Identifying Characteristics
  • Arrangement: opposite to each other.
  • Type: simple.
  • Shape: oval.
  • Edge: wavy.
  • Bark is gray-brown.
  • No thorns.
  • Fruit is dark purple when ripe.
  • Flower is pale yellow and occurs in clusters in the leaf axis.

Taxonomy of Species
   Scientific Classification
 What That Classification Means
 Kingdom  Plantae  Eukaryotic cells, many cells, don’t move, makes own food.
 Phylum  Magnoliophyta  Flowering plants.
 Class  Magnoliopida  Dicotyledons-two seed leaves formed at the end of the embryo.
 Order  Rhamnales  Woodiness, stamens (male plant part) alternating with sepals (opposite
 petals, when present).
 Family  Rhamnaceae  Buckthorn family- tree and shrub-like plants with flower clusters.
 Genus  Frangula mill
 Species  Frangula alnus mill
 Glossy buckthorn.

Similar species include: common buckthorn, alder buckthorn, lance-leaf buckthorn

Location and Movement
Origin/ Native Range
 Europe, North Africa, Asia
 It was introduced to the U.S. in the mid 1800's as an ornamental plants.
Spread of Species
  • It spreads by the wildlife that feeds on the fruit.
  • It spreads by cultivation for hedges and garden shrubs.
Where is it now invasive?  It is now invasive to U.S.A (CO, CT, IA, ID, IL, IN, KY, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, NE, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, TH, VT, WI, WV, WY.)

Is this species in Maine?
Where has it been identified?
 In Penobscot, Waldo, and York County. There is a fourth but we cant find which.
How was this species introduced?
 Introduced as an ornamental plant in 1920-1950.

Natural Environment
  • Prefers well drained sand, clay, neutral or alkaline soils. 
  • Requires little sunlight.
  • Prefers wetlands, woodlands, forests, marshes, river banks, and bogs.
Climate and Temperature Range
 Grows best when the frost leaves the ground.(55-75F)

Ecological Interactions  Producer
 Absorbs sun light energy and makes its own food through photosynthesis.
Consumed By
 Some birds and the brimstone butterfly.

Impact- more detail to come.
 Ecological  Its leaves and branches spread out and blocks small plants from getting any sunlight.
 Human  The fruit's of Frangula alnus are poisonous to humans.
 Economic  It costs lots of money to buy the materials used to get rid of it.

Control-more detail to come.
 Biological  Some birds and the Brimstone butterflies eats its fruit and nectar.
 Mechanical/Manual  Mowing newly sprouting plants. Hand pull the newly sprouting plant in the spring and the fall.
 Cultural  N/A
 Chemical  Treat stem with triclopyr oil in fall. Treat stem with glyphosate in the spring