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A picture of a Alder Buckthorn

Alder Buckthorn

Frangula alnus

Also known as

Alder Dogwood, Black Alder, Frangula, Glossy Buckthorn

Frangula-alnus-fruits by Sten Porse (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Full Sun
Easy care
Moderate watering
Frost Hardy


RHS hardiness


Minimum temperature

Expected size








50 years to reach maturity


  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

Unripe fruit can be harvested to obtain a green dye, while ripe fruit produce a blue or grey colour. The leaves and bark can be collected and used to produce a yellow dye. Alder Buckthorn is also used in the production of charcoal for the manufacture of gunpowder as it has an very even burn rate.

More images of Alder Buckthorn

A green plant in a forest
A branch with ripening seeds.
A small bird perched on a tree branch
A close up of a flower of the Alder Buckthorn
A photo of Alder Buckthorn

Alder Buckthorn Overview

This 6m shrub is not a relation of Alder but grows in the same places and has a similar appearance which is thought to be the origin of it's common name. In May & June it produces clusters of small star shaped flowers. It's glossy rounded leaves turn a yellow or red in autumn showing off the dark berries.

Common problems with Alder Buckthorn

Generally pest and disease free

    How to propagate Alder Buckthorn



    Take hardwood cuttings in late summer or early autumn.

    Special features of Alder Buckthorn

    Attractive fruits

    The flowers develop into small berries which ripen in late summer from green through red to darp purple or black in autumn.

    Attracts bees

    Attractive flowers

    Petals are roughly 3–5 mm in diameter, and almost triangular in shape.

    Other uses of Alder Buckthorn

    This low maintenance plant is suitable for including in mixed hedges and wildlife friendly gardens. It

    Deciduous Trees

    Deciduous (leaf dropping) trees often have amazing fall colour.

    A photo of Mimosa


    Acacia spp.

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    Planting For Butterflies - Host/Food Plants

    Include these plants in your garden for butterflies to hatch out caterpillars on.

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