Glossy Buckthorn - Frangula alnus
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Glossy buckthorn is a large shrub or small tree that can grow to heights of 30 feet. The dark green leaves are shiny with prominent venation. The flowers are inconspicuous, pale yellow in color and occur in clusters in the leak axis. The fleshy fruit ripens to a dark purple color. The bark is gray to brown with white lenticels. It invades moist woodlands and disturbed areas throughout the Northeast and Midwest. Its rapid growth and prolific seed production makes this plant an aggressive invader that can form dense thickets and shade and displace native understory plants, shrubs, and tree seedlings. Glossy buckthorn is native to Europe and was first introduced into the United States in the mid 1800s as an ornamental.
A species native to Eurasia, Glossy Buckthorn (Frangula alnus, hereafter GLBT) was introduced to North America in the late nineteenth century for horticultural purposes (Voss 1985). GLBT leaves are 0.5 – 2.8 in. long, alternate, simple, ovate and deeply veined. The tops of the leaves are light to dark green, with a slight gloss and a lighter green below; identification of GLBT is easiest in the fall because it retains green foliage longer then native plant species (Heidorn 1990). Flowering occurs from May to June and the inflorescence consists of perfect
five-petal, whitish-yellow flowers. Fruit begins to form in drupes in July and last through September (Barnes 1981). Initially the berries are yellow-green, but ripen to red, then to black, as the season progresses.
Barnes, B. V. And W. H. Wagner. 1981 Michigan Trees. University of Michigan Press: Ann Arbor, MI.
Heidorn, R. 1990. Vegetation management guideline: exotic buckthorns.
McNeil, R., S. Petrella., and N. Shutt. 1999. A survey of invasive exotic plants in Seney National Wildlife Refuge. Project Report, Seney National Wildlife Refuge.
Nagel, L. M. and A. J. Storer. 2004. Glossy Buckthorn management tools:research at Seney National Wildlife Refuge, 2004. Project Report, Seney National Wildlife Refuge.
Voss, E.G. 1985. Michigan Flora. (Michigan) Part II. Dicots. Kingsport Press: Bloomfield Hills,
MI. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WI-DNR). 2004.
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For more information on this plant or management please contact US Army Corp of Engineers