Frangula caroliniana (Walt.) Gray

  • Family: Rhamnaceae
  • Common names: Indian cherry, Carolina buckthorn
  • Synonym: Rhamnus caroliniana

    Large shrub or small tree to 6 m (20 ft) tall and 15 cm (6 in) diameter. Bark thin, grayish, slightly fissured. Twigs thin, gray, soon becoming glabrous. Buds small, hairy, without scales, no terminal bud. Leaves alternate, elliptical, 5-13 cm (2-5 in) long and 2-4 cm (0.8-1.6 in) wide, finely wavy-toothed on margins, hairy when young, with several straight side veins, dark shiny green above, pale green below. Flowers in small clusters at leaf bases, greenish yellow, about 5 mm (0.2 in) across, blooming in late spring. Fruits in small clusters, about 10 mm (0.4 in) in diameter, usually with three seeds in a thin sweet pulp, shiny black when ripe, maturing in late Summer or early Fall.

    Distribution: About the southeastern quarter of the U. S.
    Habitat: Understory of floodplain forests and mesic upland forests.
    NWI status: FACU
    Comment: The fruits are eaten by several species of birds. Frangula is obscure; caroliniana refers to South Carolina.

    Distribution in Oklahoma:

    Last update: 9/10/99
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