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Related to Purging buckthorn: Rhamnus cathartica


common name for some members of the Rhamnaceae, a family of woody shrubs, small trees, and climbing vines widely distributed throughout the world. The buckthorns (several species of the genus Rhamnus) and the jujube (Ziziphus jujuba) are cultivated for their ornamental foliage. The jujube was also used locally and exported for use in confectionery and as a flavoring, now largely replaced by artificial flavorings. The lotus of Tennyson's "Lotus-Eaters" is thought to have been the jujube. Other members of the family yield dyes and a limited amount of lumber, e.g., cogwood, a hardwood. Other American species of Rhamnus are the redberry, the Indian cherry, and, in California, Rhamnus purshiana, which yields the purgative cascara sagrada. Buckthorn is classified in the division MagnoliophytaMagnoliophyta
, division of the plant kingdom consisting of those organisms commonly called the flowering plants, or angiosperms. The angiosperms have leaves, stems, and roots, and vascular, or conducting, tissue (xylem and phloem).
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, class Magnoliopsida, order Rhamnales.
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A large shrub whose bark is very strong medicinally and used for killing several species of fungus, candida, staphylococcus, herpes and tumors. Bark must be at least two years old or it’s too strong. Careful! Do not confuse with the very toxic cherry laurel (Prunus caroliniana) which also has blue-black fruit, but the leaves are simpler cherry leaves.
Edible Plant Guide © 2012 Markus Rothkranz
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



the common name of a genus (Rhamnus) of shrubs or small trees of the family Rhamnaceae. The branches are often spiny. The buds have scales. The leaves are opposite or alternate and simple. The flowers are small, unisexual (rarely bisexual), dioecious or polygamous; they grow in axillary clusters, racemes, or panicles. The fruit is berrylike and succulent. The seeds are oval or ovate and are entirely enclosed in a cover (the endocarp).

There are more than 140 species of buckthorn in Europe, Africa, Asia, and North America. There are 19 species in the USSR, mainly in the Caucasus, Middle Asia, the southern part of Eastern Siberia, and the Far East. Common buckthorn (R. cathartica) is widely distributed in the European USSR, the Caucasus, Western Siberia (to the Ob’ River), and Middle Asia. Its leaves are rich in vitamin C, and its bark contains tannins. The fruit (as well as the bark of R. imeretina) is used in decoction, extract, or tincture form as a laxative. Buckthorns are good nectariferous plants. Many species are ornamentals. Frangula is often associated with this genus.


Grubov, V. I. “Monograficheskii obzor roda Rhamnus L.”Tr. Botanicheskogo in-ta AN SSSR: Seriia 1, 1949, issue 8.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


any of several thorny small-flowered shrubs of the genus Rhamnus, esp the Eurasian species R. cathartica, whose berries were formerly used as a purgative: family Rhamnaceae
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005