glossy buckthorn USDA PLANTS SYMBOL: FRAL4
Frangula alnus Mill.
Synonym(s): alder buckthorn, glossy false buckthorn, columnar buckthorn, fen buckthorn

Glossy buckthorn is a large shrub or small tree that can grow to heights of 30 ft. (9.1 m). The dark green leaves are shiny, alternate (sometime opposite) and simple with prominent venation. The flowers are inconspicuous, pale yellow in color and occur in clusters in the leaf axis. Flowering occurs in the spring. 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 make this plant an aggressive invader that can form dense thickets which 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.

Identification, Biology, Control and Management Resources