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Useful Temperate Plants

Rhamnus lycioides

L.

Rhamnaceae

+ Synonyms

Atulandra arragonensis Raf.

Verlangia sicula Neck. ex Raf.

Rhamnus graeca Boiss. & Reut.

Rhamnus oleoides L.

Rhamnus velutina Boiss.

Common Name: Espino Negro

No Image.

General Information

Rhamnus lycioides is a much-branched, erect to prostrate, spiny, evergreen shrub; it usually grows from 10 - 200cm tall, occasionally reaching 300cm.
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a dye and medicine. It is sometimes grown as an ornamental, where it can be used as a hedge.

Known Hazards

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

50
Title
Flora Europaea
Publication
 
Author
?
Publisher
Cambridge University Press
Year
1964
ISBN
-
Description
An immense work in 6 volumes (including the index). The standard reference flora for Europe, it is very terse though and with very little extra information. Not for the casual reader.
,
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.

Range

Most of the Mediterranean regions of Europe, Africa and Western Asia, excluding mainland Italy and much of the Balkans,

Habitat

Dry stony places[
50
Title
Flora Europaea
Publication
 
Author
?
Publisher
Cambridge University Press
Year
1964
ISBN
-
Description
An immense work in 6 volumes (including the index). The standard reference flora for Europe, it is very terse though and with very little extra information. Not for the casual reader.
]. Thickets, fissures and ledges of rocky slopes, stony soils, hedges, borders and clearings of woods, usually in basic substrate[
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.
].

Properties

Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitEvergreen Shrub
Height1.50 m
PollinatorsInsects
Cultivation StatusWild

Cultivation Details

Rhamnus lycioides is native to the Mediterranean region, with its hot, dry summers and cool, moist winters.
Succeeds in any reasonably good soil[
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.
].
This species is closely related, and similar to Rhamnus oleoides[
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 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.
].

Edible Uses

None known

Medicinal

A decoction of the berries is used as an external application in the treatment of rheumatic joint-enlargements[
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.
].

Agroforestry Uses:

The plant is sometimes grown as a hedge[
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
].
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

A yellow dye is obtained from the fruit[
61
Title
A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man.
Publication
 
Author
Usher. G.
Publisher
Constable
Year
1974
ISBN
0094579202
Description
Forget the sexist title, this is one of the best books on the subject. Lists a very extensive range of useful plants from around the world with very brief details of the uses. Not for the casual reader.
,
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
]. The sub-species Rhamnus lycioides graecus. (Boiss.&Rent.)Tutin. and Rhamnus lycioides oleoides (L.)Jahandiez.&Mafrl., have been specifically mentioned[
61
Title
A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man.
Publication
 
Author
Usher. G.
Publisher
Constable
Year
1974
ISBN
0094579202
Description
Forget the sexist title, this is one of the best books on the subject. Lists a very extensive range of useful plants from around the world with very brief details of the uses. Not for the casual reader.
].
All the species of Rhamnus 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 in the autumn in a cold frame. Stored seed will require 1 - 2 months cold stratification at about 5° and should be sown as early in the year as possible in a cold frame or outdoor seedbed[
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. 2019-06-26. <temperate.theferns.info/plant/Rhamnus+lycioides>

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