Horticulture Heading


Book cover - Common Weeds of New ZealandAn Illustrated Guide to
Common Weeds
of New Zealand


Rhamnus alaternus
evergreen buckthorn


Rhamnus alaternus - evergreen buckthornReproduced from
Common Weeds of New Zealand
by Ian Popay, Paul Champion & Trevor James
ISBN 0 473 09760 5
by kind permission of the
New Zealand Plant Protection Society

Publication or other use of images or descriptive text on these pages is unauthorised unless written permission is obtained from the authors and publisher.
Appropriate acknowledgement of the publication Common Weeds of New Zealand must always be given.

Available from Nationwide Book Distributors

Evergreen shrub up to 5 m tall, or stunted in exposed sites.

  • Flowers Green, small, fragrant, 3-4 mm in diameter, with no petals. Usually in hairy, scale-leaved racemes or panicles. The turned-back calyx lobes are usually red-edged. Flowers May-Nov.
  • Fruit Glossy dark red, egg-shaped drupes to 7 mm long, turning black.
  • Leaves Leathery, glossy on the top surface. Elliptical or egg-shaped, up to 6 cm long by 3 cm wide. Leaves entire or with teeth that can be blunt or sharp toothed.
  • Stems Young shoots purplish, angled, hairy.


Scrub, forest margins and plantations.


Common in and around Auckland City and Hauraki Gulf islands, decreasing southwards in NI. Occasional in Marlborough, Canterbury and Otago in SI. Originally from the Mediterranean.


A serious weed in some areas, such as on Rangitoto Island. Listed on the National Pest Plant Accord (see Introduction for details).

Derivation of botanical name

Rhamnus Gr. name for a shrub; alaternus Lat. name.


Get Acrobat Reader

Web-notes: Weed Links

On this site

Reproduced from Common Weeds of New Zealand:

External Links

WeedbustersWeedbusters New Zealand
Weedbusters is a weeds awareness and education programme that aims to protect New Zealand's environment from the increasing weed problem.
A free tool to assist farmers and agricultural professionals in decision-making regarding weed and pest identification, biology, impact and management.
Weed keyNew Zealand Weeds Key
An interactive identification key to the weeds of New Zealand. Developed at Landcare Research.

New Zealand Plant Conservation Network naturalised plants
Search for information on more than 2500 naturalised and weedy plants.
NZ Plant Protection SocietyNew Zealand Plant Protection Society
Their main objective: "To pool and exchange information on the biology of weeds, invertebrate and vertebrate pests, pathogens and beneficial organisms and methods for modifying their effects."
Massey UniversityMassey University Weeds Database
A site providing information about New Zealand weeds and weed control. It has a series of pages showing pictures of New Zealand weeds, notes on identification and control. It also provides information on a university paper entitled Controlling Weeds.

More Plant Profiles

Home | Journal | Newsletter | Conferences
Awards | Join RNZIH | RNZIH Directory | Links

20002024 Royal New Zealand Institute of Horticulture

Last updated: March 1, 2021