Common Buckthorn


Small tree or shrub, with oval slightly toothed leaves. Leaf has 3-5 pairs of veins that curve to be parallel to the edge of the leaf. The bark is dark gray. To verify the ID, scratch a twig – the yellow-orange layer has the same burnt odor as glossy buckthorn. Berries turn purple to black.


While glossy buckthorn likes damp sites, common buckthorn is found more in higher drier spots. Both species spread by berry dispersal (by birds) and form thick groves that crowd out and prevent growth of native species.


Like glossy buckthorn, pull plants up by roots; using weed wrench or digging if needed. Cut at base if necessary; remove subsequent re-sprouts, or have licensed applicator paint with professional-strength glyphosate.



Links and Resources

For more information on how to identify and control Common Buckthorn, please refer to the resources below:

  1. Mass Audubon for identification
  2. PennState Extension for identification and control
  3. Ecological Landscaping Alliance for identification and control