Water-Saving Native Plant of the Week - Carolina Bucktohorn

By: Woodlands Water | Published 11/23/2020


THE WOODLANDS, TX -- Water-Saving Native Plant of the Week by Bob Dailey: Carolina Buckthorn (Frangula caroliniana) - This small tree will grow in full sun but does better in partial shade or as a understory tree. It commonly grows to 12-15 foot tall but can reach 25 feet. This deciduous tree has leaves up to 5 inches long that stay green into late fall, although in our area may stay green all year long. The flowers are not showy, are yellowish, in small clusters at the bases of the leaves. They open in May and June. The fruit, fleshy, 1/4 inch or more in diameter, starts red, turning black when ripe. Songbirds and other wildlife consume the berries, which apparently have medicinal properties but can be toxic. Although called a buckthorn, this species has no spines. It was discovered in South Carolina, hence the common and Latin species names. Larval host for the Snout, gray hair streak, spring azure, and painted lady butterflies. Does best with a good aged native mulch layer three inches thick. Do not fertilize as it creates weak disease-prone plants.

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