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31 Buckthorn

(Rhamnus cathartica)

Buckthorns are a deciduous shrub or small tree, with grey-brown bark and spiny branches. The leaves are elliptic to oval, and green, turning yellow in autumn. The insect-pollinated flowers are yellowish-green, with four petals, and the fruit is a black drupe, containing two to four seeds. It’s mildly poisonous for people, but readily eaten by birds, which disperse the seeds in their droppings.