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  • Rhamnus alaternus (Photo: Trevor James, New Zealand Plant Protection Society)
  • Rhamnus alaternus (Photo: Trevor James, New Zealand Plant Protection Society)
  • Rhamnus alaternus (Photo: Chris Buddenhagen, NZ Department of Conservation)
  • Rhamnus alaternus (Photo: D Stephens, NZ Department of Conservation)
  • Rhamnus alaternus (Photo: D. Stephens, NZ Department of Conservation)
  • Rhamnus alaternus (Photo: Plant Protection Society)
  • Rhamnus alaternus (Photo: R Smart, NZ Department of Conservation)
  • Rhamnus alaternus (Photo: C Howell, NZ Department of Conservation)
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Common name
evergreen buckthorn (English), alaterne (English), Italian buckthorn (English)
Synonym
Similar species
Summary
Rhamnus alaternus is an evergreen tree native to the Mediterranean. It was introduced to many areas of the Australasian-Pacific region as an ornamental plant in the 1900s where it became an invasive tree along coastlines and forests because of its ability to form dense stands that eventually exclude all other types of vegetation.
Species Description
Rhamnus alaternus is an evergreen dioecious tree that grows up to 10 metres in height. Its stout stems have dark brown, thick, furrowed bark when old, but on younger plants it is pale (often purplish) and thin. It has glossy green, leathery, oval-shaped leaves that often have serrated or toothed edges and prominent veins. The pentamerous flowers are inconspicuous, pale green, fragrant, and 3-4mm in diameter. The abaxial surface of the calyx lobes of the flowers are usually red-edged. The fruit is a glossy, dark red, egg-shaped drupe that reaches lengths of 7mm and turns black when ripe, containing pale white seeds. R. alaternus is generally dioecious (Rottenberg 2000). However, there have been some reports of monoecy and hermaphroditism on individual trees in conspecific populations (Aronne and Wilcock 1995; Rottenberg 2000). R. alaternus is able to establish under light shade or in full sun. The taxon enters its reproductive phase in three years and has a fast growth rate (height increase of up to 800mm per year) (Auckland Regional Council 1999; Wotherspoon and Wotherspoon 2002; RNZIH 2004). Male plants were found to have greater growth rates than females in southern Italy (Aronne and Wilcock 1995).
Uses
Rhamnus alaternus is commonly used in reforestation programs in the Mediterranean, due to its fecundity and ability to survive in xeric environments (Gulias et al. 2004). R. alaternus was introduced to many areas of the Australasian-Pacific region as an ornamental plant (Auckland Regional Council, 1999). It has also been evaluated for use as an ornamental plant (Floyd 1974) and for windbreaks in citrus groves (Platt 1966) in the United States. The species was also used in ancient Mediterranean cultures for medicinal purposes (Dafni and Lev 2002; Stocker et al. 2004).
Habitat Description
Rhamnus alaternus is a sclerophyllous shrub that generally grows in areas with a Mediterranean-type climate (summer drought and intermittent winter rain), particularly coastal areas and bare rock. It can also grow beside streams, on forest margins, islands, and shrublands (Auckland Regional Council 1999). R. alaternus can also be found in the following habitat types: scrub, forest margins and plantations, hedges, woodlands, sunny edges, dappled shaded areas, and shady edges (RNZIH 2004; Plants for a Future 2002). In New Zealand, it is a weed of coastal areas and especially exposed cliff faces on offshore islands (PIER 2002).
Reproduction
Rhamnus alaternus flowers during early winter and early spring and produces fruits that ripen in late spring and early summer (Gulias et al. 2004). Although largely pollinated by insects, the dry pollen of R. alaternus suggests it is also transported by wind (Aronne and Wilcock 1995). The fruits consist of two to three seeds surrounded by an endocarp that opens when the fruit pulp is removed (Gulias et al. 2004). The seeds explosively eject from the endocarps upon ripening (Aronne and Wilcock 1995). In southern Italy, male plants were found in greater abundance than females, had a greater density of flowers, and flowered regularly every year (Aronne and Wilcock 1995). Female plants were found to produce fruit every other year (Aronne and Wilcock 1995).\r\nGermination of seeds of R. alaternus was unaffected when seeds were exposed to temperatures as low as 5 °C on the island of Mallorca, which is within its native range (Gulias et al. 2004). Seedling survival and post-dispersal seed predation, as opposed to seed viability, were considered to be the most limiting factors in the recruitment process of Rhamnus alaternus (Gulias et al. 2004).
Pathway
Rhamnus alaternus was introduced to many areas of the Australasian-Pacific region as an ornamental plant (Auckland Regional Council, 1999).

Principal source:

Compiler: National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) & IUCN/SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG) with support from the Terrestrial and Freshwater Biodiversity Information System (TFBIS) Programme (Copyright statement)

Review: Ryan Stewart Assistant Professor of Horticultural Ecophysiology Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Illinois USA

Publication date: 2006-03-23

Recommended citation: Global Invasive Species Database (2017) Species profile: Rhamnus alaternus. Downloaded from http://www.iucngisd.org/gisd/species.php?sc=893 on 17-10-2017.

General Impacts
Rhamnus alaternus is an invasive tree along coastlines and forests that forms dense stands, causing the exclusion of all other vegetation (Northland Regional Council Undated). \"Because its growth rate is faster than most native shrub and tree species, R. alaternus quickly dominates and extends islands of young vegetation out competing subcanopy species in all forest types, and infiltrating the canopy of lower scrubby vegetation types\" (Wotherspoon and Wotherspoon 2002).
Management Info
Physical: Rhamnus alaternus can be controlled physically by pulling out the smaller plants and seedlings - making sure the tap root is removed. The vegetation can then be composted or mulched.

Chemical: Larger plants can be controlled by cutting down the tree and treating the stump with herbicide, or applying herbicide around the base of the trunk from ground level to a height of approximately 60cm. Herbicides that can be used include: Escort, Grazon, and Grazon Knapsacking (Auckland Regional Council 1999). The Auckland Regional Council (2005) uses basal treatment at or close to sensitive areas. This involves either cutting the tree down and treating the stump or frilling the bark and applying herbicide to the trunk. Foliar spray can be used on heavy infestations of seedlings where there is minimal risk of damage to other plants.

Countries (or multi-country features) with distribution records for Rhamnus alaternus
ALIEN RANGE
NATIVE RANGE
  • albania
  • algeria
  • cyprus
  • ex-yugoslavia
  • france
  • greece
  • israel
  • italy
  • libyan arab jamahiriya
  • mediterranean area
  • morocco
  • portugal
  • spain
  • tunisia
  • turkey
  • ukraine
Informations on Rhamnus alaternus has been recorded for the following locations. Click on the name for additional informations.
Lorem Ipsum
Location Status Invasiveness Occurrence Source
Details of Rhamnus alaternus in information
Status
Invasiveness
Arrival date
Occurrence
Source
Introduction
Species notes for this location
Location note
Management notes for this location
Impact
Mechanism:
Outcome:
Ecosystem services:
Impact information
Rhamnus alaternus is an invasive tree along coastlines and forests that forms dense stands, causing the exclusion of all other vegetation (Northland Regional Council Undated). \"Because its growth rate is faster than most native shrub and tree species, R. alaternus quickly dominates and extends islands of young vegetation out competing subcanopy species in all forest types, and infiltrating the canopy of lower scrubby vegetation types\" (Wotherspoon and Wotherspoon 2002).
Red List assessed species 0:
Locations
Mechanism
[2] Competition
Outcomes
[4] Environmental Ecosystem - Habitat
  • [1] Reduction in native biodiversity
  • [1] Habitat degradation
  • [2] Modification of successional patterns
Management information
Physical: Rhamnus alaternus can be controlled physically by pulling out the smaller plants and seedlings - making sure the tap root is removed. The vegetation can then be composted or mulched.

Chemical: Larger plants can be controlled by cutting down the tree and treating the stump with herbicide, or applying herbicide around the base of the trunk from ground level to a height of approximately 60cm. Herbicides that can be used include: Escort, Grazon, and Grazon Knapsacking (Auckland Regional Council 1999). The Auckland Regional Council (2005) uses basal treatment at or close to sensitive areas. This involves either cutting the tree down and treating the stump or frilling the bark and applying herbicide to the trunk. Foliar spray can be used on heavy infestations of seedlings where there is minimal risk of damage to other plants.

Bibliography
26 references found for Rhamnus alaternus

Managment information
Atkinson, I. A. E., 1997. Problem weeds on New Zealand islands I. Science for Conservation: 45. Wellington, NZ Department of Conservation
Environment Waikato. 2002. Evergreen Buckthorn (Rhamnus alaternus).
Gomez, C., P. Pons, and J. M. Bas. 2003. Effects of the Argentine ant Linepithema humile on seed dispersal and seedling emergence of Rhamnus alaternus. Ecography 26: 532-538.
Gulias, J, A. Traveset, N. Riera, and M. Mus. 2004. Critical Stages in the Recruitment Process of Rhamnus alaternus L. Annals of Botany 93: 723-731, 2004
Miller, C. J., J. L. Craig, and N. D. Mitchell. 1994. A conservation vision for Rangitoto and Motutapu Islands. Journal of The Royal Society of New Zealand 24(1):65-90
National Pest Plant Accord, 2001. Biosecurity New Zealand.
Summary: The National Pest Plant Accord is a cooperative agreement between regional councils and government departments with biosecurity responsibilities. Under the accord, regional councils will undertake surveillance to prevent the commercial sale and/or distribution of an agreed list of pest plants.
Available from: http://www.biosecurity.govt.nz/pests-diseases/plants/accord.htm [Accessed 11 August 2005]
Northland Regional Council. UNDATED. Pest Management Strategy for Surveillance Plants.
General information
Aronne, G. and C.C. Wilcock. 1994. First evidence of myrmecochory in fleshy-fruited shrubs of the Mediterranean region. New Phytologist 127:781-788.
Aronne, G. and C.C. Wilcock. 1995. Reproductive lability in pre-dispersal biology of Rhamnus alaternus L. (Rhamnaceae). Protoplasma 187:49-59.
Dafni, A. and E. Lev. 2002. The Doctrine of Signatures in present-day Israel. Economic Botany 56:328-334.
Danin, A. 2000. The inclusion of adventive plants in the second edition of Flora Palaestina. Willdenowia 30:305-314.
Davis, P.H. 2000. Flora of Turkey and the East Aegean Islands. University Press, Edinburgh, U.K.
FloraBase. 1996. Rhamnus alaternus L. . Flora of Western Australia (Contributed by G. Paczkowska).
Summary: Available from: http://florabase.calm.wa.gov.au/browse/flora?f=215&level=s&id=4822 [Accessed 11 September 2005]
Floyd, J.A. 1974. New ornamental plants for South Carolina. Bulletin of the South Carolina Experimental Station 571:8.
Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), 2010. Rhamnus alaternus L.
Summary: Available from: http://www.gbif.net/species/15817162/ [Accessed 15 June 2010]
G�mez, C., P. Pons, and J.M. Bas. 2003. Effects of the Argentine ant Linepithema humile on seed dispersal and seedling emergence of Rhamnus alaternus. Ecography 26:532-538.
Gulias, J., A. Traveset, N. Riera, and M. Mus. 2004. Critical stages in the recruitment process of Rhamnus alaternus. Annals of Botany 93:721-731.
PIER (Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk). 2005. Rhamnus alaternus L., Rhamnaceae.
Summary: Available from: http://www.hear.org/pier/species/rhamnus_alaternus.htm [Accessed 11 September 2005]
Plants for a Future. 2002. Rhamnus alaternus.
Summary: Available from: http://www.ibiblio.org/pfaf/cgi-bin/arr_html?Rhamnus+alaternus&CAN=COMIND [Accessed 11 September 2005]
Platt, R.G. 1966. Windbreaks for citrus. California Citrogrower 51:396-397, 418-421.
Rottenberg, A. 2000. Fertility of exceptional bisexual individuals in four dioecious plant species. Sexual Plant Reproduction 12:219-221.
Stocker, P., M. Yousfi, O. Djerridane, J. Perrier, R. Amziani, S. El-Boustani, and A. Moulin. 2004. Effect of flavonoids from various Mediterranean plants on enzymatic activity of intestinal carboxylesterase. Biochimie 86:919-925.
Tutin, T.G. 1965. Flora Europaea. University Press, Cambridge, U.K.
Contact
The following 1 contacts offer information an advice on Rhamnus alaternus
Stewart,
Ryan
Organization:
Assistant Professor of Horticultural Ecophysiology
Address:
1011 Plant Sciences Laboratory MC-634 Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 1201 South Dorner Drive Urbana, Illinois 61801
Phone:
217-265-5461
Fax:
217-244-3469