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Purging Buckthorn

Rhamnus cathartica

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Common or Purging Buckthorn, Rhamnus cathartica, is an upright, spiny shrub usually found in scrub and hedgerows on chalky soil. Its black berries act as what Richard Mabey in Flora Britannica describes as a "fierce" purgative. Purging Buckthorn and Alder Buckthorn are the only foodplants of the Brimstone butterfly. Purging Buckthorn prefers drier spots to the damp loving Alder Buckthorn, however. Buckthorn is a good hedging plant; put one in a hedge facing South or in any sheltered position and you will find yourself breeding Brimstones sooner rather than later. See below for more details.


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This item has seasonality November-March and will only be shipped during this time.

Purging Buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica)

Common or Purging Buckthorn, Rhamnus cathartica, is an upright, spiny shrub usually found in scrub and hedgerows on chalky soil. Its black berries act as what Richard Mabey in Flora Britannica describes as a "fierce" purgative. I wonder if he tried them. Both Purging and Alder Buckthorn are the only foodplants of the Brimstone butterfly. Purging Buckthorn prefers drier and more calcareous spots than the damp loving Alder Buckthorn, however.


Buckthorn is a good hedging plant; put one in a hedge facing South or in any sheltered position and you will find yourself breeding Brimstones sooner rather than later.


Provenance certificates are available on request for Purging Buckthorn plants, which are from the Southwest of England.
Suppliers: Perrie Hale Forest Nursery
50% of our profit on sales of Purging Buckthorn plants is donated to The Tree Council

See our planting and size guide for details and tips on planting.

These Purging 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 week's delay between placing the order and dispatching, due to weather conditions or pressure of orders, which are dealt with in date sequence. Orders for Rhamnus cathartica placed between March and September are confirmed in October ready for dispatch from November.