Invasive Species Council of Manitoba

European BuckthornRhamnus cathartica

Common Buckthorn can lead to significant yield losses and lowered grades of cereal by being an alternate host for a fungus that causes oat rust. It is often confused with Chokecherry.



*graphic courtesy of the University of North Dakota


European Buckthorn is native of Eurasia. It was introduced to North America as an ornamental shrub, for fence rows and wildlife habitat.


This plant is found in Manitoba and is a large problem in natural areas within Winnipeg.


This plant is able to successfully invade habitats because of its tolerance of a wide range of moisture and light conditions, and its heavy seed production.

The dense shade produced by stands often reduces biodiversity in a habitat. Thorns can be harmful to humans or animals that come into contact.

Where to Look

Common in fence rows, pastures, roadsides, woodland and abandoned areas. It can also be seen infesting natural areas and invading river bottom and upland forest habitat.


Leaves: Dark green with slightly serrated edges, elliptic to ovate, 3.5 - 7.5cm.  They grow in pairs, but not exactly opposite.

Flowers: Small, greenish to yellowish, short-stalked and in small clusters.

General: Shrub to 6m tall, outer bark is dark with small pores and inner bark is orange.


European Buckthorn ISCM Fact Sheet

2011 Rural Municipality Distribution Map

2010 Rural Municipality Distribution Map.

European Buckthorn MWSA 2009 Survey Map

Common Buckthorn and Glossy Buckthorn — Project Fact Sheet

European Buckthorn Brochure


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