Common Buckthorn


  • Tall shrub or small tree
  • Buds and leaves are opposite
  • Often has short, sharp, spike-like thorns at the tips of twigs
  • Leaves are hairless, have 3-5 pairs of veins curing toward the tip from the mid-vein with tiny teeth along margins
  • Height can grow 20-25 feet tall and up to 10 inches in diameter

Weed Pictures

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Weed Information

ControlMechanical and herbicide control most effective when tailored to site conditions. Monitoring is crucial. Contact your local County Weed District or local applicator for more information.
HabitatOccurs in disturbed and undisturbed habitats including roadsides, oil fields, prairies, and a variety of woodlands.
RootLarge, extensive root system
Leaf ShapeEgg-shaped with pointed tips, fine toothed edges
LifespanPerennial: two years or longer
Priority 2A WeedCommon in isolated areas of Montana
Similar Looking PlantsNative plum or cherry trees, dogwoods
Important InformationMale and female flowers are borne on separate shrubs. No appreciable predators or diseases feed on this plant to curtail its growth or spread. Buckthorn fruits are widely dispersed by animals.