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Rhamnus frangula - L.                
                 
Common Name Alder Buckthorn
Family Rhamnaceae
USDA hardiness 3-7
Known Hazards The plant is poisonous unless stored for 12 months before use[4, 19, 76]. This report is probably referring to the bark. Do not use in cases of intestinal obstruction, stenosis, atony, inflammatory colon disease, appendicitis, abdominal pain of unknown origin. Avoid long-term use. Two weeks recommended under medical supervision [301].
Habitats Swamps and damp places, usually on moist heaths and damp open woods, preferring a peaty soil[9, 17, 21].
Range Europe, including Britain, from Scandanavia south and east to N. Africa, the Urals and Siberia.
Edibility Rating  
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Wet Soil Semi-shade Full sun

Summary       
UPDATE 15/3/2012: Rhamnus frangula L. is a synonym of Frangula dodonei Ard.

Physical Characteristics       
 icon of manicon of shrub
Rhamnus frangula is a deciduous Shrub growing to 5 m (16ft) by 4 m (13ft) at a slow rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 3. It is in flower from May to June, and the seeds ripen from Sep to November. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist or wet soil.

Synonyms
Frangula alnus. Mill. Frangula dodonei
Rhamnus frangula Alder Buckthorn


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:69_Rhamnus_Frangula_L.jpg
Rhamnus frangula Alder Buckthorn
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Ies
   
Habitats
Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; Hedge; Bog Garden;
Edible Uses                                         
None known
Medicinal Uses


Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Aperient;  Cathartic;  Cholagogue;  Laxative;  Purgative;  Tonic;  Vermifuge.

Alder buckthorn has been used medicinally as a gentle laxative since at least the Middle Ages[244]. The bark contains 3 - 7% anthraquinones, these act on the wall of the colon stimulating a bowel movement approximately 8 - 12 hours after ingestion[254]. It is so gentle and effective a treatment when prescribed in the correct dosages that it is completely safe to use for children and pregnant women[244]. The bark also contains anthrones and anthranols, these induce vomiting but the severity of their effect is greatly reduced after the bark has been dried and stored for a long time[254]. The bark is harvested in early summer from the young trunk and moderately sized branches, it must then be dried and stored for at least 12 months before being used[4, 238] The inner bark is cathartic, cholagogue, laxative (the fresh bark is violently purgative), tonic, vermifuge[4, 9, 13, 21, 165]. It is taken internally as a laxative for chronic atonic constipation and is also used to treat abdominal bloating, hepatitis, cirrhosis, jaundice, and liver and gall bladder complaints[238]. It should be used with caution since excess doses or using the bark before it is cured can cause violent purging[9, 21]. Externally, the bark is used to treat gum diseases and scalp infestations[238], or as a lotion for minor skin irritations[244]. The fruit is occasionally used, it is aperient without being irritating[4]. The German Commission E Monographs, a therapeutic guide to herbal medicine, approve Rhamnus frangula for constipation (see [302] for critics of commission E).
Other Uses
Charcoal;  Dye;  Hedge;  Hedge;  Nails;  Wood.

A yellow dye is obtained from the leaves and bark[4, 115]. It is much used in Russia and turns black when mixed with salts of iron[4]. A green dye is obtained from the unripe fruit[4, 115]. A blue or grey dye is obtained from the ripe berries[4, 115]. Plants can be grown as an informal (untrimmed) hedge, though they are also amenable to trimming[200]. The cultivar 'Tallhedge (syn 'Columnaris') is very suitable for this purpose[200]. The wood is used to make wooden nails, shoe lasts, veneer etc[46, 61]. It is the source of a high quality charcoal that is used by artists[4, 11, 13, 17, 100, 115, 182, 186].
Cultivation details                                         
An easily grown plant, it succeeds in any reasonably good soil[11, 98], preferring neutral to acid conditions[238]. It grows well on damp or peaty soils[98]. Prefers a moist moderately fertile soil in sun or semi-shade[200]. Grows well in wet soils but not if they are water-logged[186]. Dislikes drought or exposure to strong winds[186]. Plants are hardy to at least -15°c[238]. Alder buckthorn is a slow-growing plant, though it coppices well. It was at one time often grown for its wood which was used in making charcoal[186]. The plants regenerate well after forest fires or grazing[186]. Plants flower on one-year old wood and also on the current year's growth[4]. Cultivated as a medicinal plant in S. Europe[57]. Often bears the aecidospore stage of 'crown rust' of oats[1]. The species in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[200]. A good bee plant[4] and a main food plant for the larvae of the yellow brimstone butterfly[186].
                                                                                 
Propagation                                         
Seed - best sown in the autumn in a cold frame. Stored seed will require 1 - 2 months cold stratification at about 5° and should be sown as early in the year as possible in a cold frame or outdoor seedbed[200]. Germination is usually good, at least 80% by late spring. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle, and grow them on in the greenhouse or cold frame for their first winter. Plant them out in late spring or early summer of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame[113]. Cuttings of mature wood of the current year's growth, autumn in a frame. Layering in early spring[4].
Related Plants                                         
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Rhamnus alaternusItalian Buckthorn00
Rhamnus carolinianusIndian Cherry, Oak, Carolina Buckthorn21
Rhamnus catharticaCommon Buckthorn03
Rhamnus croceusRed Berry20
Rhamnus dahuricaDahurian Buckthorn11
Rhamnus globosalokao00
Rhamnus grandiflora 20
Rhamnus japonicaJapanese buckthorn11
Rhamnus leptophyllus 10
Rhamnus lycioides 00
Rhamnus nepalensis 11
Rhamnus persicus 20
Rhamnus purpureus 01
Rhamnus purshianaCascara Sagrada23
Rhamnus saxatilisAvignon Berry, Rock buckthorn00
Rhamnus saxatilis tinctoriusDyer's Buckthorn00
Rhamnus triquetra 01
Rhamnus utilisChinese Buckthorn00
Rhamnus virgatus 11
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Botanical References                                         
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