Alaternus alpinus (L.) Moench.
Frangula latifolia Mill.
Oreoherzogia alpina (L.) W.Vent
Oreoherzogia fallax (Boiss.) W.Vent
Rhamnus fallax Boiss.
Rhamnus glaucophylla Sommier
Rhamnus alpina is a deciduous shrub or small tree that can grow from 0.5 - 5 metres tall[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine.
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.
Mediterranean region - Spain to Greece, Turkey and the Levant; Morocco, Algeria
Ledges and deep fissures on rocky ground, clearings in pine and beech forests, ravine bottoms, gravel banks by rivers, occupying more shady positions in mountains to the south of its range[
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
Rhamnus alpina is a moderately cold-hardy plant, able to tolerate temperatures down to around -20°c when fully dormant[
Usually found in calcareous soils in the wild[
The fruits and bark are purgative[
An aqueous extract of the leaves has shown antiinflammatory activity and a dose-dependant effect in the treatment of periodontitis[
All parts of the plant have been reported to contain high concentrations of anthraquinones, anthraglucosides, and cyclitols[
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[
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[
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[
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[
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[
]. 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[
Cuttings of mature wood of the current year's growth, autumn in a frame.
Layering in early spring[