Also sometimes known as Purging Buckthorn. A large, dense spiny deciduous shrub with a suckering habit, found in the wild mainly on chalky soils, although it will grow in most soil conditions. It is important to wildlife, its leaves being only one of two food sources for the caterpillars of the Brimstone butterfly; it is also provides food for Tiger Moth larvae and adult Brimstones are attracted to the flowers.
Site and soil
Tough and hardy, Common Buckthorn will cope with most soils and situations, including shade.
Height and spread
Below are the approximate stages of growth, assuming sited in suitable conditions for this species;
After 10 years: 6m x 5m After 20 years: 6m x 5m
Leaf and bark
The leaves are a glossy dark green, oval to elliptic in shape, turning yellow in autumn before leaf fall. The bark is grey-brown with sharp spines.
Flower, seed and fruit
The flowers are small, greenish-white and are borne in the leaf axils in late spring. They are followed by spherical red berries, which ripen to black in autumn.
Woodland, hedging. Important to wildlife. A powerful laxative preparation has been made from the berries, which also yield a yellow dye.
The leaves are the food plant of both the Brimstone butterfly and Tiger Moth caterpillars. Adult brimstones are attracted to the flowers in spring, and birds eat the berries in autumn and winter.
The main reasons for buying protection is to protect the plants against:
When it comes to deciding what protection to choose the golden rule is to choose the product dependent on which pest you are protecting against. The below will help you in deciding what height of protection you will need.
Vole, Mice 20cm
Roe Deer, Muntjac 1.20m
Fallow Deer 1.50m
Pest & Minimum Protection Height
Protection Type Where more than one size is listed, the wider diameter protection is recommended for taller, bushier plants.
Support Required Taller support is recommended for use in sandier, lighter soils and wider/stronger support should be used at exposed sites.