Tennessee Smart Yards Native Plants

A comprehensive database of Tennessee native plants

Carolina Buckthorn, Carolina False Buckthorn, Indian Cherry

Carolina Buckthorn, Carolina False Buckthorn, Indian Cherry

Frangula caroliniana (Rhamnus caroliniana)

Full to part sun; medium moisture level; occurs naturally on rocky soils but will grow on sandy loam and clay loams; circumneutral to moderately alkaline pH.

12-15 feet height by 10-15 feet spread; creamy-green or yellowish flowers in May and June; berry-like fruit, 1/3 inch across that is a very showy red in September to October and eventually turning to black.

Growth Rate: Medium

Maintenance: No serious insect or disease problems. Requires pruning to develop a strong structure.

Propagation: Seed germination code C (30-60) at 41 degrees F.

Native Region: Statewide but lightly in West Tennessee

Attractive, small tree that is under-planted and under-appreciated. Known for its handsome, shiny leaves and edible fruits. Branches droop as they grow so difficult to walk under the tree. Must have at least 3-4 hours of sun per day and will grow in full sun but may lose some of its charm and become dense and shrubby. High drought tolerance. Species originally discovered in South Carolina, hence its common name. Does not have thorns or spines in spite of its common name.

Attracts birds and butterflies. Larval host for the Snout butterfly.


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