Herbs & Plants

Rhamnus carolinianus

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Botanical Name :Rhamnus carolinianus
Family: Rhamnaceae
Genus: Rhamnus
Species: R. caroliniana
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Rosales

Synonyms: Frangula caroliniana

Common Name:Indian Cherry,Carolina Buckthorn (Despite its common name, the Carolina Buckthorn is completely thornless.)

Habitat :Rhamnus carolinianus is native to the Southeastern United States. There is a local disjunct population in Mexico as well.Rich woods, sheltered slopes, borders of streams and limestone ridges. Swamps and low ground.

Rhamnus caroliniana is usually around 12 to 15 feet high, but capable of reaching 40 feet in a shaded location.  The most striking characteristic of this plant are its shiny, dark green leaves. The flowers are very small and inconspicuous, pale yellow-green, bell-shaped, appearing in leaf axils in late spring after the leaves. The fruit is a small (1/3 inch) round drupe; at first red, but later turning black with juicy flesh. It ripens in late summer

Propagation & Cultivation :
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a cold frame. Stored seed will require 1 – 2 months stratification at 5?C and should be sown as early in the year as possible in a cold frame. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle, and grow them on in the greenhouse or cold frame for their first winter. Plant them out in late spring or early summer of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Cuttings of mature wood of the current year’s growth, autumn in a frame. Layering in early spring.

Edible Uses:
Fruit – raw or cooked. The fruit has a thin rather dry flesh with a sweet and agreeable flavour. The fruit is about 7 – 10mm in diameter and contains 2 – 4 small seeds. Some caution is advised.

Medicinal Uses:
A tea made from the bark is emetic and strongly laxative. It is used in the treatment of constipation with nervous or muscular atony of the intestines.  An infusion of the wood has been used in the treatment of jaundice.

Other Uses:
Wood – rather hard, light, close grained, not strong. It weighs 34lb per cubic foot. Too small to be of commercial value.

Known hazards: Although no specific mention of toxicity has been found for this species, there is the suggestion that some members of this genus could be mildly poisonous.

The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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