PLANT: Shrubs to 3 m tall. STEMS: brown to gray-brown. LEAVES: thin or thick, deciduous; petioles (0.2-) 0.5-1.6 cm long; blades elliptic or oblong to obovate, 4.5-14.1 cm long, 1.9-9.3 cm wide, REFERENCES: Christie, Kyle, 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: beechleaf frangula Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Tree Wetland Status: FAC General: Shrub with smooth brown to gray-brown stems reaching 3 m tall. Leaves: Thin or thick, on petioles 0.5-1.5 cm long, blades elliptic or oblong to obovate, 4.5-14 cm long, 2-9 cm wide, green and pubescent on both sides, margins generally serrate. Flowers: Axillary cyme of 2-20 flowers, with hemispheric hypanthium, 5 sepals and petals, triangular sepals 1-2 mm long, petals light yellow, about 1 mm long with 3 lobed stigma. Fruits: Spherical drupes, purplish black when ripe, 0.5-1 cm wide with 3 small seeds. Ecology: Found on stream or creek banks from 4,500-9,000 ft (1372-2743 m); flowers April-September. Notes: Ours is of ssp. betulifolia which is distinguished by the thin, oblong to elliptic leaves with thin veins. Ssp. obovata is distinguished by having thick obovate leaves with thick, prominent veins and is typically found in the northern part of Arizona. Ethnobotany: Used as a ceremonial emetic. Etymology: Frangula is thought to mean fragile, referring to the brittle twigs of alder, while betulifolia means with leaves like beech, or of the genus Betula. Synonyms: Rhamnus betulifolia Editor: SBuckley, 2010