Alder Buckthorn

©Anne Tanne

Alder buckthorn

Enw gwyddonol: Frangula alnus
An uncommon tree of wet woodlands, riverbanks and heathlands, Alder buckthorn displays pale green flowers in spring, and red berries that turn purple in autumn.

Species information


Height: 3-6m

Statws cadwraethol

Protected in Northern Ireland under the Wildlife Order, 1985.

Pryd i'w gweld

January to December


Alder buckthorn is a small, thornless tree of wet woodland, riverbanks and heathlands. It is widespread, but scarce, across England and Wales. Clusters of pale green flowers appear in late spring, and bunches of red berries ripen to a purple-black colour in autumn. Both Alder and Purging buckthorn are the main foodplants of the Brimstone butterfly.

Sut i'w hadnabod

Unlike its relative, Purging buckthorn, Alder buckthorn is a thornless tree. It also has narrower leaves, with wavy margins and rounded tips, and red berries that turn purple.


Widespread, but scarce, in England and Wales.

Roeddech chi yn gwybod?

Alder buckthorn has smooth, dark grey bark, but surprisingly bright yellow wood that was once used for making gunpowder.

Sut y gall bobl helpu

The Wildlife Trusts work closely with farmers and landowners to ensure that our wildlife is protected and to promote wildlife-friendly practices. By working together, we can create Living Landscapes: networks of habitats stretching across town and country that allow wildlife to move about freely and people to enjoy the benefits of nature. Support this greener vision for the future by joining your local Wildlife Trust.