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Buckthorn - Alder (Rhamnus frangula)

Rhamnaceae family

Code: Rhamnus frang
  • £0.95 (ex. VAT)
Item in Stock   |   Delivery within a few days

Key Features

Alder buckthorn (Rhamnus frangula) is

- Suitable as a woodland tree, hedge plant or woodland shrub

- Native

- Deciduous

- Flowering

- Good in wet areas

- Not thorny, despite being called a buckthorn

- Safe to plant near livestock (non-toxic) but not advised for horse paddocks - see blog

Buy with confidence - read our customer reviews.

The specifications shown below are our normal range but we often have additional specifications.  if there is something specific that you are looking for, it's often worth contacting us to see if we have some.

Please Email Us or call 01989552028 if you would prefer to order on the phone or have any questions or to discuss a discount for larger quantities.

British Grown
Minimum Order Value £1000 +VAT
Free delivery over £3,000+VAT*
Trade terms available for orders over £5,000+VAT
Planting Essentials
Bagging Options
Product Options Height Age Root Type Specification 1+ 100+ 500+ Quantity Qty
Alder buckthorn (Rhamnus frangula) Height: 40-60cm Age: 1 yr Root Type: Bare Root Specification: 1+0 seedling Alder buckthorn (Rhamnus frangula) 1+ £1.30 (ex. VAT) 100+ £1.20 (ex. VAT) 500+ £0.95 (ex. VAT) Please Purchase in Multiples of: 25
40-60cm 1 yr Bare Root 1+0 seedling £1.30 (ex. VAT) £1.20 (ex. VAT) £0.95 (ex. VAT)
Alder buckthorn (Rhamnus frangula) Height: 60-80cm Age: 1 yr Root Type: Bare Root Specification: 1+0 seedling Alder buckthorn (Rhamnus frangula) 1+ £1.55 (ex. VAT) 100+ £1.35 (ex. VAT) 500+ £1.15 (ex. VAT) Please Purchase in Multiples of: 25
60-80cm 1 yr Bare Root 1+0 seedling £1.55 (ex. VAT) £1.35 (ex. VAT) £1.15 (ex. VAT)
Total: £0.00 (ex. VAT)

Our range of Alder buckthorn bare root plants (Rhamnus frangula)

We have Alder buckthorn bare root trees or hedging plants in several sizes.   The 1+0 specification plants are seedlings (often called whips) which were planted from seed in the spring and are sold during the following November to April months ie they are 1 year old.  We have Alder buckthorn bare root whips in several heights. All of these plants are grown by us in Herefordshire so you are buying "direct from the grower".

Alder Buckthorn (Rhamnus frangula) Summary

Alder buckthorn likes wetter areas, thriving in wet riverbanks and bogs but it will cope also with normal moisture levels.  Along with Rhamnus cathartica, the leaves are a main food stuff for the Brimstone butterfly and it has other wildlife value with flowers attractive to bees and berries for birds, particularly thrushes.  Although having “thorn” in the name would imply it is a thorny plant, in fact is it not thorny (unlike Rhamnus cathartica which is spiny).  We have a blog on the differences between Rhamnus frangula and Rhamnus cathartica.

Soil and Situation

Wetter ground in hedgerows, bogs, scrubland and woodlands, beside ditches and streams, ideally in full or partial sunlight and acidic soil, though it will tolerate neutral soil.

Leaves, flowers and fruit

The leaves of Alder buckthorn are matt green, oval, up to 7cm in length, with a pointed tip and taper towards the base, and are arranged alternately on the stem and the stems themselves are purplish-brown.   The leaves are one of the very few foodstuffs for brimstone butterflies.

in May/June, alder buckthorn produces greenish-cream flowers which are star shaped and are held in large clusters.

The fruits are reddish/purple berries, darkening to black, popular with thrushes and other birds.

The bark is smooth and purple-brown with white corky cells when young, becoming grey-brown as it matures, but still retaining some pale markings.

Eventual height and growth rate

The eventual height if left to grow as a shrubby, delicate tree would be about 5m but this plant is more often grown as part of a hedgerow where it is easily kept at 2- 3m height.  Growth rate is average at about 40cm pa.



This section gives definitions on the specifications of plants that we sell.  We are specialists in field grown (or bare root) plants which are grown in two ways.  The majority are grown from seed, some are ready within one growing season (seedlings or 1+0's) and some species require two growing seasons (1u1's).  In addition to growing from seed we also grow from small plants or cuttings (transplants) which are much more widely spaced (taking more land, more irrigation water, fertilisers and labour).  There are only a handful of bare root wholesale nurseries in the UK and of those even fewer grow transplants but Ray Jenkins has many years' experience of transplanting so we grow these in large volumes.  Ray has written this blog about the benefits of bare root plants and how they are grown and another blog which gives further detail on bare root specifications.

The detailed specifications are shown below.  If you are in doubt about what specification to use please email us on with a description of the project (and photos if appropriate) and we will advise you.

1+0 - field grown in one season from seed, known as a seedling (sometimes called a whip), generally a slender single stem plant.   These are the cheapest specification and are particularly suitable for planting where weed competition will be less intense, soil is shallow or on exposed windy sites.  Gives a high root to shoot ratio and minimal plant "check".

2+0 - a 2 year seedling, field grown from seed in the same seed bed in two growing seasons where the species cannot be grown to a saleable plant from seed in one season

1U1 - 2 year old plant called an undercut, field grown for two seasons in the same seed bed and undercut by machine (a sharp blade cutting the roots under the soil level) after the first year to develop the root structure. We do this with several species which take 2 years to develop (eg oak, beech, hornbeam)

1+1 - 2 year old plant (transplant) grown from seed in the first year and then transplanted into a different area of the field and spaced out for the second growing season - a robust plant with a larger and more robust root system than seedling or undercut plant which will enable it to better withstand drought and weed competition. Often the best choice and the staple norm for farm hedging and this specification is a requirement of the Countryside Stewardship Grant

1+2- a 3 year old plant, two years field growing in the seedbed and then transplanted (and spaced out) for a further two growing seasons giving a tall, stocky, bushy plant

2+1- a 3 year old plant, two years field growing in the seedbed and then transplanted (and spaced out) for a further growing season, giving a strong bushy plant

3+1 - as above but field grown for a further growing season for more height and a very bushy plant

1+3- 4 year old, one year field growing in the seed beds and then transplanted (and spaced out) for three years, giving a very strong, bushy plant

2+2- 4 year old, two years field growing in the seed beds and then transplanted (and spaced out) for a further two years - a very mature plant suited to certain species like beech and hornbeam where we can offer almost instant hedging

and some that are a bit different.....

P9 - a plant grown in a greenhouse or polytunnel in a 9cm pot (for holly which germinates poorly in the field)

Cell grown - a plant grown in small deep cells (like a small yogurt pot) and then lifted out of those for transportation. Commonly used in forestry and large hedging projects.  Very high quality plants with excellent success rate.  See our blog on the benefits of cell grown plants.

C+1 or C+2 - a 3 or 4 year old plant initally started as hardwood cuttings grown on for a year as cell grown plants and then lined out in fields to grow on for a further 1 or 2 years (a technique used for Cherry Laurel)

0/1 - a hardwood cutting, then field grown for one season (for example for white willow, black poplar and osier)