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Frangula alnus
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Rosales
Family: Rhamnaceae
Tribe: Rhamneae
Genus: Frangula

See text

Frangula is a genus of about 35 species of flowering shrubs or small trees, commonly known as alder buckthorn in the buckthorn family Rhamnaceae.[1] The common name buckthorn is also used to describe species of the genus Rhamnus in the same family and also sea-buckthorn, Hippophae rhamnoides in the Elaeagnaceae.


Frangula is a genus of deciduous shrubs with alternate, simple leaves with stipules, buds without bud scales, branches without spines and flowers with five petals and undivided styles. The fruits are 2 to 4-seeded berries.[2]: 279 

Selected species include:

The European species, alder buckthorn (Frangula alnus) was of major military importance in the 15th to 19th centuries, as its wood provided the best quality charcoal for gunpowder manufacture.[3]


  1. ^ "The Plant List: Frangula". Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. 2013.
  2. ^ Stace, C. A. (2010). New Flora of the British Isles (Third ed.). Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press. p. 88. ISBN 9780521707725.
  3. ^ Francis Montagu Smith (1871). A handbook of the manufacture and proof of gunpowder, as carried on at the Royal Gunpowder Factory, Waltham Abbey. H.M. Stationery Office. pp. 26–. Retrieved 2 April 2013.