Alder Buckthorn (Frangula alnus)
Alder Buckthorn, Frangula alnus, has glossy leaves that turn yellow, contrasting with black berries in the Autumn. Alder Buckthorn prefers damp, peaty sites, with neutral to slightly acid soils. A good plant in an informal hedge.
Unlike Purging or Common Buckthorn, it's thornless. Its also hermaphrodite, which Common buckthorn isn't. Both Buckthorns are, however, the only foodplants of the Brimstone butterfly, which makes them an obligatory part of any butterfly garden. Frangula alnus is native across most of Europe and Western Asian and owes its botanical name to its brittle wood, which is, however, hard and durable.
Value For Wildlife
Alder Buckthorn is a good hedge plant; put one in a hedge facing South or in any sheltered position and you will find yourself breeding Brimstones sooner rather than later. We have two stands of Alder Buckthorn in our garden and have include it in a new hedge to do exactly this. Their insignificant flowers have also - surprisingly - turned out to be magnets for all sorts of bees. Birds eat its berries, but they are toxic to us.
Plants For Sale
Suppliers: Perrie Hale Forest Nursery, RV Roger, British Hardwood Trees
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See our planting and size guide for details and tips on planting Alder Buckthorn.
These Alder Buckthorn plants are all bare root, and are consequently available for delivery from November until March (please ask if you are interested in pot grown plants). During the lifting season there may be up to two weeks delay between placing the order and dispatching, due to weather conditions or pressure of orders, which are dealt with in date sequence. Orders for Alder Buckthorn placed between March and September are confirmed in October ready for dispatch from November.
Time to Ultimate Height
Over 20 years
Sheltered or exposed
Full or partial sun