PLANT: Shrubs to small trees, 2-5 m tall. STEMS: erect, gray-brown, slender, young stems pubescent becoming glabrous, often smooth and lustrous. LEAVES: deciduous, alternate to nearly opposite; petioles 3-4 mm long; blades oblong, lanceolate or elliptic; 2-5 (5.8) cm long, 1.0-1.6 cm wide, serrulate to crenulate, yellowish-brown and pubescent below; apex obtuse. INFLORESCENCE: of 1-5 flowers. FLOWERS: with pedicels 2-5 mm long; petals 4, greenish-yellow, ca. 2 mm long. FRUITS: 4-6 mm long, black at maturity. NOTES: Mountain canyons, open hillsides and stream banks: Apache, Cochise, Coconino cos.; 1,520-2,300 m (5,000-7,500 ft); Apr-Jun; CO, TX, NM; Mex. REFERENCES: Kyle Christie, Michael Currie, Laura Smith Davis, Mar-Elise Hill, Suzanne Neal, and Tina Ayers, 2006 Vascular Plants of Arizona: Rhamnaceae. CANOTIA 2(1): 23-46.
Christie et al. 2006
Common Name: sawleaf buckthorn Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Shrub General: Shrubs to small trees, 2-5 m, mature bark gray-brown, younger stems glabrous to pubescent. Leaves: Alternate to opposite, lanceolate, oblong, or obovate, bright green above, yellowish brown and pubescent below, deciduous and on petioles 3-4 mm long, the blades 2-5 cm long, 1-1.5 cm wide, serrulate to crenulate. Flowers: Tiny greenish-yellow flowers with 4 petals, in an inflorescence of 1-5 flower, the flowers on pedicels 2-5 mm long. Fruits: Small, globose berries, black when mature, 4-6 mm long. Ecology: Found on rocky slopes, stream banks, and in canyons, from 5,000-7,000 ft (1524-2134 m); flowers April-June. Distribution: Ranges from Colorado south to Arizona and New Mexico and Texas and south into northern Mexico. Notes: Distinguished by the 4-merous flowers within the family and from the genus Frangula. Ethnobotany: Specific use of species unknown, however the genus has many uses; an infusion of the bark taken as a cathartic and emetic, the berries were applied as a poultice to sores, and the plant was boiled into a jelly-like substance and eaten. Etymology: Rhamnus is a Greek name for buckthorn, while serrata means saw-toothed. Synonyms: Rhamnus smithii var. fasciculata Editor: LCrumbacher, 2011