If you would like to support this site, please consider Donating.
Useful Temperate Plants

Rhamnus alaternus

L.

Rhamnaceae

+ Synonyms

Alaternus angustifolia Mill.

Alaternus baleárica Duhamel ex Steud.

Alaternus glabra Mill.

Alaternus hispanicus Steud.

Alaternus latifolia Mill.

Alaternus phylica Mill.

Alaternus rotundifolia Steud.

Alaternus variegata Steud.

Rhamnus clusii Willd.

Rhamnus myrtifolia Willk.

Common Name: Italian Buckthorn

No Image.

General Information

Rhamnus alaternus is a much-branched, evergreen shrub or small tree that can grow up to 8 metres tall with a bole 30 - 40cm in diameter[
11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
,
549
Title
Flore Forestiere Du Globe
Publication
 
Author
Chnacerel L.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Gauthier-Villars et Co.; Paris.
Year
1920
ISBN
 
Description
Written in French, a very detailed work on the timbers of the world. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine and source of wood. An ornamental plant, it can be grown as a hedge and is valued in horticulture for its glossy leaves and red berries[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].
Rhamnus alaternus has a wide geographical range and there are no significant threats. The plant is classified as 'Least Concern' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2018)[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].
Rhamnus alaternus was introduced as an ornamental to many areas outside its native range in the 1900's. It has often escaped from cultivation and, because of its ability to form dense stands that eventually exclude all other types of vegetation, has become an invasive tree along coastlines and forests. The plant is considered an invasive weed in New Zealand, Australia, and parts of North America[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
,
413
Title
Global Invasive Species Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.issg.org/database/welcome/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Very detailed information on almost 400 species (with more being added) of plants that have become weeds in areas outside their native range.
].

Known Hazards

Rhamnus alaternus can be toxic when used in an abusive way[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].
Species in this genus contain hydroxyanthracene derivatives which have a stimulant laxative effect upon the body, and many species are used traditionally as laxatives. In small doses, and for short periods, these can be safe and effective, but used over long periods they can weaken the body's natural ability to defecate and can have a range of long-lasting negative effects upon the body, including anaemia, malabsorption, haematuria and weight loss. Large single doses can cause severe purging.

Botanical References

11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.

Range

Mediterranean region - Portugal to Greece and Turkey; Macaronesia to Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria; Eastern Europe - Ukraine (Krym)

Habitat

Dry places[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
] in scrub and maquis, especially on limestone; at elevations up to 1,660 metres[
184
Title
Shrubs.
Publication
 
Author
Phillips. R. & Rix. M.
Publisher
Pan Books
Year
1989
ISBN
0-330-30258-2
Description
Excellent photographs and a terse description of 1,900 species and cultivars.
,
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
]. Dry sunny, pebbly and stony slopes of the lower mountain belt[
74
Title
Flora of the USSR.
Publication
 
Author
Komarov. V. L.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Israel Program for Scientific Translation
Year
1968
ISBN
-
Description
An immense (25 or more large volumes) and not yet completed translation of the Russian flora. Full of information on plant uses and habitats but heavy going for casual readers. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

Properties

Weed PotentialYes
Conservation StatusLeast Concern
Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitEvergreen Shrub
Height5.00 m
Growth RateMedium
PollinatorsInsects
Self-fertileNo
Cultivation StatusOrnamental, Wild

Cultivation Details

Rhamnus alaternus is native to a Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and cool, moist winters. It is a moderately cold-hardy plant, able to tolerate short periods with temperatures down to around -15°c when it is fully dormant[
184
Title
Shrubs.
Publication
 
Author
Phillips. R. & Rix. M.
Publisher
Pan Books
Year
1989
ISBN
0-330-30258-2
Description
Excellent photographs and a terse description of 1,900 species and cultivars.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
An easily grown plant that succeeds in ordinary garden soil in sun or shade[
182
Title
Ornamental Shrubs, Climbers and Bamboos.
Publication
 
Author
Thomas. G. S.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1992
ISBN
0-7195-5043-2
Description
Contains a wide range of plants with a brief description, mainly of their ornamental value but also usually of cultivation details and varieties.
]. Succeeds in a hot dry position. Plants are very tolerant of exposure to salt-laden winds, succeeding in exposed maritime gardens[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. One report, however, says that they are not very root firm[
182
Title
Ornamental Shrubs, Climbers and Bamboos.
Publication
 
Author
Thomas. G. S.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1992
ISBN
0-7195-5043-2
Description
Contains a wide range of plants with a brief description, mainly of their ornamental value but also usually of cultivation details and varieties.
].
A fairly fast-growing plant according to one report[
202
Title
Climbers and Wall Shrubs.
Publication
 
Author
Davis. B.
Publisher
Viking.
Year
1990
ISBN
0-670-82929-3
Description
Contains information on 2,000 species and cultivars, giving details of cultivation requirements. The text is terse but informative.
], whilst another says that it grows slowly but has a long life-span[
549
Title
Flore Forestiere Du Globe
Publication
 
Author
Chnacerel L.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Gauthier-Villars et Co.; Paris.
Year
1920
ISBN
 
Description
Written in French, a very detailed work on the timbers of the world. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].
The species in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
A dioecious species, both male and female forms need to be grown if fruit and seed are required. There are some reports of hermaphrodite flowers on individual trees[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].

Edible Uses

None known

Medicinal

The plant is used in folk medicine in many Mediterranean countries, as it has anti-oxidant virtues and is also considered to be antibacterial, antidiabetic, astringent, digestive, diuretic, hypotensive and laxative. It is used for controlling blood pressure and in the treatment of hepatic and dermatological complications[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
,
1642
Title
Antihyperlipidemic effect of a Rhamnus alaternus leaf extract in Tritoninduced hyperlipidemic rats and human HepG2 c
Publication
Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy 101 (2018) 501-509
Author
Tacherfiout M. et al
Website
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopha.2018.02.106
Publisher
 
Year
2018
ISBN
 
Description
 
].
An infusion of the leaves is used as an astringent gargle[
526
Title
An Illustrated Dictionary of Medicine, Biology and Allied Sciences.
Publication
 
Author
Gould G.M.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
P. Blakiston's Son & Co.; Philadelphia.
Year
1907
ISBN
 
Description
A major work at the time, though very dated now. Contains quite a lot of information about medicinal plant uses.
,
549
Title
Flore Forestiere Du Globe
Publication
 
Author
Chnacerel L.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Gauthier-Villars et Co.; Paris.
Year
1920
ISBN
 
Description
Written in French, a very detailed work on the timbers of the world. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].
Rhamnus alaternus can be toxic when used in an abusive way[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
]

A decoction of the leaves and branches has been used in the treatment of conditions such as arterial hypertension; as a preventative of conditions such as arteriosclerosis and thromboembolisms; and to alleviate dental or periodontal pains.
The branches and leaves are also rich in tannins and therefore astringent; In popular medicine they have been used in the form of gargles to treat inflammations, especially of the mouth and throat[
526
Title
An Illustrated Dictionary of Medicine, Biology and Allied Sciences.
Publication
 
Author
Gould G.M.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
P. Blakiston's Son & Co.; Philadelphia.
Year
1907
ISBN
 
Description
A major work at the time, though very dated now. Contains quite a lot of information about medicinal plant uses.
,
549
Title
Flore Forestiere Du Globe
Publication
 
Author
Chnacerel L.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Gauthier-Villars et Co.; Paris.
Year
1920
ISBN
 
Description
Written in French, a very detailed work on the timbers of the world. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
,
1548
Title
Flora Iberica
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.floraiberica.es
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Published in book form, the treatments of the various species have also been released on-line in PDF format. Records entered here are all from the on-line PDFs.
].

The fruits are bitter and purgative[
526
Title
An Illustrated Dictionary of Medicine, Biology and Allied Sciences.
Publication
 
Author
Gould G.M.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
P. Blakiston's Son & Co.; Philadelphia.
Year
1907
ISBN
 
Description
A major work at the time, though very dated now. Contains quite a lot of information about medicinal plant uses.
,
549
Title
Flore Forestiere Du Globe
Publication
 
Author
Chnacerel L.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Gauthier-Villars et Co.; Paris.
Year
1920
ISBN
 
Description
Written in French, a very detailed work on the timbers of the world. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

Agroforestry Uses:

Plants have a dense habit of growth and respond well to trimming - they can be used as a screen or a hedge[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
,
413
Title
Global Invasive Species Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.issg.org/database/welcome/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Very detailed information on almost 400 species (with more being added) of plants that have become weeds in areas outside their native range.
,
1548
Title
Flora Iberica
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.floraiberica.es
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Published in book form, the treatments of the various species have also been released on-line in PDF format. Records entered here are all from the on-line PDFs.
].
The plant is commonly used in reforestation programs in the Mediterranean, due to its fecundity and ability to survive in xeric environments[
413
Title
Global Invasive Species Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.issg.org/database/welcome/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Very detailed information on almost 400 species (with more being added) of plants that have become weeds in areas outside their native range.
].
The flowers are a good source of nectar for bees[
74
Title
Flora of the USSR.
Publication
 
Author
Komarov. V. L.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Israel Program for Scientific Translation
Year
1968
ISBN
-
Description
An immense (25 or more large volumes) and not yet completed translation of the Russian flora. Full of information on plant uses and habitats but heavy going for casual readers. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

Other Uses

The heartwood is light or dark brown; the sapwood yellowish-white. The wood is fine-grained, very heavy. It can be used in turnery, marquetry and for small cabinetry[
549
Title
Flore Forestiere Du Globe
Publication
 
Author
Chnacerel L.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Gauthier-Villars et Co.; Paris.
Year
1920
ISBN
 
Description
Written in French, a very detailed work on the timbers of the world. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

We have no specific information for this species, but all the members of this genus contain a mixture of compounds (mainly rhamnetin, quercitin and rhamnazin) that make a range of good quality dyes. The colour and its intensity depend upon what part of the plant is used as dyeing material (leaves, fruits and bark are most commonly used), at what period of growth it is collected and in what state it is used. With the use of the corresponding mordants (alum, copper and iron vitriols, tin dioxide, chromium, etc.) it is possible to obtain virtually the entire spectrum of colours from lemon-yellow to purple and dark cinnamon-brown, from olive-green to intensive blue and violet[
74
Title
Flora of the USSR.
Publication
 
Author
Komarov. V. L.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Israel Program for Scientific Translation
Year
1968
ISBN
-
Description
An immense (25 or more large volumes) and not yet completed translation of the Russian flora. Full of information on plant uses and habitats but heavy going for casual readers. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].
The dye extracts obtained from the bark, leaves and fruits are suitable for dyeing cottons, silks, woollens, leather, paper and wood. These dyes are often exceptional for their fastness[
74
Title
Flora of the USSR.
Publication
 
Author
Komarov. V. L.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Israel Program for Scientific Translation
Year
1968
ISBN
-
Description
An immense (25 or more large volumes) and not yet completed translation of the Russian flora. Full of information on plant uses and habitats but heavy going for casual readers. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].
Many European species also possess another valuable quality - they yield a beautiful 'smoky' hue to silks and cottons and are therefore often added to other natural and artificial dyes[
74
Title
Flora of the USSR.
Publication
 
Author
Komarov. V. L.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Israel Program for Scientific Translation
Year
1968
ISBN
-
Description
An immense (25 or more large volumes) and not yet completed translation of the Russian flora. Full of information on plant uses and habitats but heavy going for casual readers. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

Although we have seen no specific information for this species, the seeds of Rhamnus species are generally rich in fatty oil and several of them are extracted for use as lubricating oils etc[
74
Title
Flora of the USSR.
Publication
 
Author
Komarov. V. L.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Israel Program for Scientific Translation
Year
1968
ISBN
-
Description
An immense (25 or more large volumes) and not yet completed translation of the Russian flora. Full of information on plant uses and habitats but heavy going for casual readers. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

Propagation

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a cold frame. Stored seed will require 1 - 2 months stratification at 5°c and should be sown as early in the year as possible in a cold frame[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle, and grow them on in the greenhouse or cold frame for their first winter. Plant them out in late spring or early summer of the following year.
Cuttings of half-ripe wood, mid summer in a frame[
113
Title
The Reference Manual of Woody Plant Propagation.
Publication
 
Author
Dirr. M. A. and Heuser. M. W.
Publisher
Athens Ga. Varsity Press
Year
1987
ISBN
0942375009
Description
A very detailed book on propagating trees. Not for the casual reader.
].
Cuttings of mature wood of the current year's growth, autumn in a frame.
Layering in early spring[
4
Title
A Modern Herbal.
Publication
 
Author
Grieve.
Publisher
Penguin
Year
1984
ISBN
0-14-046-440-9
Description
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
].
Cite as: Temperate Plants Database, Ken Fern. temperate.theferns.info. 2019-02-17. <temperate.theferns.info/plant/Rhamnus+alaternus>

Add a Comment:

If you have any useful information about this plant, please leave a comment. Comments have to be approved before they are shown here.