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Frangula caroliniana facts for kids

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Frangula caroliniana
Rhamnus caroliniana.jpg
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Rhamnus caroliniana map.png
Generalized natural range of Frangula caroliniana
  • Rhamnus caroliniana Walter

Frangula caroliniana, commonly called the Carolina buckthorn, is a deciduous upright shrub or small tree native to the southeastern, south-central, and mid-western parts of the United States, from Texas east to Florida and north as far as Maryland, Ohio, Missouri, and Oklahoma. There is also an isolated population in the State of Nuevo León in northeastern Mexico. It is found in a wide variety of habitats, including barrens, forests, and limestone bluffs.


Frangula caroliniana is usually around 12 to 15 feet (3.6-4.5 meters) high, but capable of reaching 40 feet (12 meters) in a shaded location. The most striking characteristic of this plant are its shiny, dark green leaves. The flowers are very small and inconspicuous, pale yellow-green, bell-shaped, appearing in leaf axils in late spring after the leaves. The fruit is a small (1/3 inch or 8.3 mm) round drupe; at first red, but later turning black with juicy flesh. It ripens in late summer.

Despite its common name, the Carolina buckthorn is completely thornless.

Ecology and uses

Wildlife such as songbirds eat the fruits, which are reported to have medicinal uses.

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