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Products > Rhamnus alaternus
Rhamnus alaternus - Italian Buckthorn

Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Shrub
Family: Rhamnaceae (Buckthorns)
Origin: Portugal (Europe)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Greenish White
Bloomtime: Spring
Height: 12-16 feet
Width: 6-8 feet
Exposure: Sun or Shade
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: <15 F
Rhamnus alaternus (Italian Buckthorn) - A good evergreen shrub for a hedge or screening that has nice dense dark green glossy foliage throughout the year. The small spring-blooming greenish-yellow flowers produce reddish fruit that ages to a dark purple color. In nature this plant is quite variable but this cutting grown selection is very upright growing, reaching to 12 to 15 feet tall by about half the width. Full sun to part shade in just about any soil where it can tolerate heat, wind and drought but also tolerates regular water. Hardy to 10-15 F. This plant is excellent for making a fast fairly narrow screen as it can grow 2 to 3 feet in its first few years and can also be trained as a small upright tree. It is a particularly useful plant for hedges that go in and out of shade and full sun as it is tolerant of both and its narrow habit and limited height makes it a great choice along pathways and in areas that a limited height is needed. It also shears well if an even shorter height or width is desired. This plant is native to scrublands below 2,300 feet in elevation in the Mediterranean extending from Portugal on the west across southern Spain, France, Italy to Albania and Greece to as far north as the Crimean shores of the Black Sea and south onto islands in the Mediterranean, including Corsica, Sicily, Sardinia and the Balearic Islands. The name for the genus Rhamnus derives from the ancient Greek 'rabdos', meaning a "stick" in reference to the presence a woody spine on the end of each twig for certain species. The specific epithet comes from the Latin word 'alternus' meaning "alternate" in reference to the alternate leaves on this species. Another common name for this plant is Mediterranean Buckthorn.  The information on this page is based on research conducted in our nursery library and from online sources as well as from observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery, in the nursery's garden and in other gardens that we have visited. We have also incorporated comments received from others and always appreciate getting feedback of any kind from those who have some additional information, particularly if this information is contrary to what we have written or includes additional cultural tips that would aid others in growing  Rhamnus alaternus.