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FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 12 | Rhamnaceae

6. Frangula caroliniana (Walter) A. Gray, Gen. Amer. Bor. 2: 178. 1849.

Carolina buckthorn, Indian cherry Carolina buckthorn, Indian cherry

Rhamnus caroliniana Walter, Fl. Carol., 101. 1788 (as carolinianus); R. caroliniana var. mollis Fernald

Shrubs or small trees, 2–6(–10) m. Stems gray, glabrous or pubescent. Leaves deciduous; petiole 8–20 mm; blade dull green abaxially, glossy dark green adaxially, oblong to elliptic or obovate-elliptic, (3–)5–13 cm, herbaceous, base cuneate to rounded, margins serrulate or crenulate to nearly entire, apex acute to acuminate or obtuse, abaxial surface puberulent on veins, adaxial surface glabrous; secondary veins 6–9(–10) pairs. Inflorescences umbels, pedunculate, 1–14-flowered. Pedicels 3–6 mm. Stigmas 3-lobed. Drupes black, globose, 8–10 mm; stones 3.

Flowering Apr–Jun. Dry to moist barrens, sandy and gravelly flats, roadsides, ravines, bluffs, limestone bluffs, shell middens, bottomlands, swamp and pond edges, coastal hammocks, deciduous and coniferous forests; 50–500 m; Ala., Ark., Fla., Ga., Ill., Ind., Ky., La., Md., Miss., Mo., N.C., Ohio, Okla., S.C., Tenn., Tex., Va.

Rhamnus caroliniana var. mollis (type from Illinois, with leaves persistently soft-pubescent abaxially) has sometimes been recognized as a western/Ozarkian entity (for example, H. A. Gleason and A. Cronquist 1991), but intermediates and intergrades with the typical form (with leaves glabrescent abaxially) are as numerous as the extremes.


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