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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a genus of shrubs or small trees of the family Rhamnaceae. The branches are not spiny, and the buds are without scales. The leaves are alternate and simple. The flowers, which are small and bisexual, are in axillary dichasia or fascicles. The fruit is drupelike, juicy, and globular; it has three indehiscent stones. The seeds are lenticular and unfurrowed; they protrude from openings in the endocarp in the form of a beaked little spout. There are 52 species, distributed in America, East Asia, and the Mediterranean Region (as far as the Caucasus). In the USSR there are three species. Only alder buckthorn (Frangula alnus) is widely distributed in Western Europe, the European USSR, the Caucasus, Siberia (as far as the Enisei), and the eastern part of Middle Asia. The bark of the branches and trunks of this species contains anthraglycosides (up to 5 percent); saponins, tannins, and other substances. Infusions, extracts, and tablets manufactured from its bark are used as laxatives. The fruits and bark yield fast dyes. The soft wood is used for lathe work. Frangula is an ornamental. This genus is often combined with the genus Rhamnus.


Grubov, V. I. “Monograficheskii obzor roda Rhamnus L.s.l.” Trudy Botanicheskogo instituta AN SSSR, series 1, issue 8, 1949.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Other remarkable rare species in the reserve are a buckthorn (Rhamnus frangula), two species of common whitebeam (Sorbus aria), the bird's-nest orchid (Neottia nidus-avis), and the shepherd's cress (Teesdalia nudicaulis).
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Two buckthorn species, common (Rhamnus cathartica) and glossy (Rhamnus frangula), are aggressive non-native competitors in southwest Michigan.