Alderleaf Buckthorn

Botanical Name: Rhamnus alnifolia
Other Names: alder buckthorn, alder-leaved coffeeberry, alderleaf coffeeberry
Family: Rhamnaceae Native to: Eastern North America, Interior North America, Western North America
Eco benefits: attracts pollinators, erosion control, attracts birds
Natural habitat: waters edge, floodplains
Shapes: round, multi-stemmed, clump
Height: 1-5ft
Common uses: hedge, naturalized plantings
Soil: moist and fertile, tolerates heavy clay, wet
Reproduction type: dioecious

alderleaf buckthorn
Photo 103911606, (c) juhogan, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC)

Alderleaf buckthorn is a bushy fruiting shrub found on riverbanks, meadows, and moist areas. Its native habitat is southern Canada and Northern United States; unlike the invasive buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica).

alderleaf buckthorn flowers
Rob Routledge, Sault College,, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The leaves are narrowly ovate to narrowly elliptic and granular toothed. Stems are gray and smooth. Small green shallowly bell-shaped flowers appear on the from June to July. They're either solitary or in umbels (of up to three) and are either male or female (dioecious). Bluish-black three seeded berries follow (drupes). The flowers and fruit attract wildlife such as birds, butterflies and moths.

alderleaf buckthorn leaf
Rob Routledge, Sault College,, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons


Giblin, D., Burke Museum Herbarium. (n.d.). Rhamnus alnifolia. Retrieved from

Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2020. E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Plants of British Columbia []. Lab for Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Vancouver. Rhamnus alnifolia L'Hér. Retrieved from

California Native Plant Society. (n.d.). Alder Buckthorn. Retrieved from

Natural Resource Conservation Service. (n.d.). Rhamnus alnifolia L'Hér. Retrieved from