These usually thorny, deciduous or evergreen trees and shrubs are divided into more than 125 species. Most are from northern temperate regions in habitats with alkaline soils. Plants in the genus Rhamnus are grown mainly for their foliage (which turns colors in the autumn in some species) and for their fruit. Flowers are tiny, but often fragrant, and some are very attractive to bees. Use in a shrub border or as hedging.
Noteworthy CharacteristicsUsually thorny. Attractive foliage and decorative fruit. All parts may cause severe discomfort if eaten.
CareMost prefer full sun or partial shade and are somewhat adaptable to soil moisture content, but some species prefer moist soil or full sun.
PropagationSows seed in a cold frame as soon as ripe. For evergreen species, root semi-ripe cuttings in summer. Layer deciduous species in spring or fall, or take greenwood cuttings in early summer.
ProblemsScale insects, caterpillars, rust, and leaf spots.