• AGM plants

    AGM plants have been through a rigorous trial and assessment programme. They are:

    • Excellent for ordinary use in appropriate conditions
    • Available to buy
    • Of good constitution
    • Essentially stable in form & colour
    • Reasonably resistant to pests & diseases

Rhamnus cathartica

purging buckthorn

purging buckthorn

© RHS 2002

  • Other common names purging buckthorn
    common buckthorn

    common hart's horn
    European buckthorn
    French berry
    rainberry thorn
    Rhineberry thorn
    waythorn

    see more
  • Family Rhamnaceae

  • Genus Rhamnus can be deciduous or evergreen shrubs or trees, often thorny, with simple leaves that may colour well in autumn, and tiny yellowish flowers followed by fruit that is typically black

  • Details R. cathartica is a bushy, deciduous shrub or small tree to 6m, with spiny shoots bearing glossy dark green leaves which turn yellow in autumn, and small clusters of tiny yellowish flowers followed by red berries which ripen to black

  • Plant range Europe to C Asia

Characteristics

  • Foliage Deciduous

  • Habit Bushy

  • Toxicity All parts may cause severe discomfort if ingested

  • Hardiness

    Hardiness ratings

    All ratings refer to the UK growing conditions unless otherwise stated. Minimum temperature ranges (in degrees C) are shown in brackets

    • H1a - Under glass all year (>15C)
    • H1b - Can be grown outside in the summer (10 - 15)
    • H1c - Can be grown outside in the summer (5 - 10)
    • H2 - Tolerant of low temperatures, but not surviving being frozen (1 to 5)
    • H3 - Hardy in coastal and relatively mild parts of the UK (-5 to 1)
    • H4 - Hardy through most of the UK (-10 to -5)
    • H5 - Hardy in most places throughout the UK even in severe winters (-15 to -10)
    • H6 - Hardy in all of UK and northern Europe (-20 to -15)
    • H7 - Hardy in the severest European continental climates (< -20)

    H7

Colour

Sunlight

  • Full Sun

  • Partial Shade

  • Aspect South-facing or North-facing or West-facing or East-facing

  • Exposure Exposed or Sheltered

Soil

  • Chalk

    Chalk

  • Clay

    Clay

  • Sand

    Sand

  • Loam

    Loam

  • MoistureMoist but well-drained

  • SoilChalk, Clay, Sand, Loam

  • pHAcid, Alkaline, Neutral

Size

  • Ultimate height 4-8 metres

  • Ultimate spread 2.5-4 metres

  • Time to ultimate height 20-50 years

How to grow

Cultivation Flowers are attractive to bees. Suitable for hedging, wild or woodland gardens. Grow in moist soils

Propagation Propagate by seed or semi-hardwood cuttings

Suggested planting locations and garden types Low Maintenance Wildflower meadow Wildlife Gardens

How to care

Pruning Pruning group 1

Pests Generally pest free

Diseases Generally disease free

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