Rhamnus (Evergreen Buckthorn)

Also known as:
Italian Buckthorn
Mediterranean region

General description

Evergreen shrub <5 m high but stunted in exposed sites. Young shoots hairy & often purple, turning brown with thick furrowed bark when mature. Leathery, egg-shaped leaves glossy on upper surface, entire or toothed margins. Small green fragrant flowers (May-Nov). Berry-like drupes ripening from glossy-red to black. Male, female, juvenile & adult forms vary slightly.

Forest margins, plantations, scrub, especially coastal areas. Prefers dry summers & intermittent winter rain in warmer areas.

Prolific quantities of seeds dispersed by mammals & birds.

Competes strongly with regeneration of pohutukawa & other coastal species. Serious threat to coastal communities & offshore islands as achieves 80-100% ground cover in a very short time.

Site management

Follow up sites 6-monthly until eliminated before replanting. In large stands, control female plants first to minimise seeding.

Recommended approaches

1. In areas defined as Total Control, report it immediately to the Auckland Council Biosecurity team, who will arrange for its control at their expense.
2. Hand pull small plants under 30cm removing root. Kinked root breaks easily & will resprout.
3. Cut & stump paint (Vigilant gel or 100ml Tordon BK /1L or 5g metsulfuron/1L ).
4. Basal spray (100ml Tordon BK/1L diesel, NB using water instead of diesel drops kill rate from 100% to 75%).
5. Spray seedlings (100ml Tordon BK +10ml penetrant/10L).
6. Spray spring - summer (60ml Tordon BK +10ml penetrant/10L).

Caution: when using any herbicide or pesticide PLEASE READ THE LABEL THOROUGHLY to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed.

Similar species

Japanese spindle tree
Euonymus japonicus

The stems of evergreen buckthorn are purplish red and hairy as opposed to the green and hairless stems of Japanese spindle tree.

Search tags

RPMS status

Total Control - defined areas
Containment (boundary) - Rhamnus mainland zone
Surveillance - Whole Region
National Pest Plant Accord species - nationwide
rhamnus (evergreen buckthorn) - Main species image