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Invasive Species in Amherst State Park

Rhamnus cathartica - Common Bucktorn

photo by  WNY PRISM

June 5, 2015

Close up Photo

photo by  WNY PRISM

June 5, 2015

     Common Bucktorn (Rhaamnus cathertica) is a small deciduous tree or shrub which grows 6-20 feet tall. It is native to Europe, north and west Africa and was introduced to the United States around 1800. Common bucktorn can be found  in open woods, pastures, fence rows, roadsides, moist and dry upland areas, flood plains and riparian forests. It has the ability to form dense tickets under which native vegetation cannot survive due to shading and crowding. This plant was planted along fence rows and as shelter for wildlife.


    Common Bucktorn has fragrant yellow-green clusters of 2-6 flowers in spring. The dark, purple to black round fruit which appear in the fall. It is favorite food of birds and small mammals, who disperse the seeds in their droppings. The fruit and bird droppings are messy and will stain pavements, automobiles and areas around the home.

Bucktorn fruit

September, 2015