Rhamnus cathartica: notes on Its Early History in North America

Jessica S. Kurylo, A. G. Endress

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Rhamnus cathartica (Common Buckthorn) is a well-established invasive species in North America. We searched early records of the species to help refine this species' history in North America. This note presents strong evidence of Common Buckthorn's entry to North America prior to the 19th century and suggests it was originally imported for medicinal, not ornamental, purposes. We then briefly discuss aspects of its expansion across North America to about the mid-19th century, when it was promoted as a hedge-forming plant. Such information is useful for reconstructing Common Buckthorn's invasion history (including reasons for its success), as well as for understanding human-invasive species interactions in general.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)601-610
Number of pages10
JournalNortheastern Naturalist
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2012


  • INHS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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