Common name


Scientific Name

Rhamnus alaternus

Type of plant


About this weed

Buckthorn is a garden escapee originally from the Mediterranean Region. It is potentially a serious weed of disturbed bushland.


Rhamnus alaternus is an erect shrub or tree to 6 m high. It has shiny, dark green, toothed, ovate leaves. Female flowers are small and green. Male flowers form on different trees. The fruit is red and succulent and dispersed by birds,possums and other animals. Reproduction is by seed and the time to first flowering is 2 years. The tree will resprout from base and can produce root suckers. The seedbank persists for 5+ years. The tree resprouts following fire.

Impact on Bushland

Potentially a serious weed of disturbed bushland. Can cause acute disruption of ecological processes, dominates and/or significantly alters vegetation structure, composition and function of ecosystems.


This weed is a particular problem on Rottnest Island, the Swan River cliffs, the Helena Valley and at Harvey. It prefers sandy & loamy soils along rivers, creeks and flats.

Priority for removal

High: major threat to the conservation values of Banksia woodlands and South-West Province.

Management (hand)

Hand pull seedlings and dig out small plants (<50 cm tall).

Management (herbicide)

Cut and paint base with 50% Glyphosate or try basal bark application of 250 ml Access® in 15 L of diesel to basal 50 cm of trunk. Read the manufacturers’ labels and material safety data sheets before using herbicides. Optimal months to spray are March to May and September to November. Spraying can be done occasionally in any other month.

Flowering month/s

June, July, August, September, October, November

Flower colour/s


Information source


Additional information


Hussey, B.M.J., Keighery, G.J., Dodd, J., Lloyd, S.G. and Cousens, R.D. (2007) Western weeds. A guide to the weeds of Western Australia, Second Edition, The Weeds Society of Western Australia, Victoria Park, Western Australia.

Buckthorn images


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Urban Bushland Council WA Inc

2 Delhi Street West Perth WA 6005

PO Box 326 West Perth WA 6872

(08) 9420 7207 (please leave a message)