Hansen's Northwest Native Plant Database


Rhamnus purshiana (Cascara, Chittam)

 

Kingdom

 Plantae Plants

Subkingdom

 Tracheobionta Vascular plants

Superdivision

 Spermatophyta Seed plants

Division

 Magnoliophyta Flowering plants

Class

 Magnoliopsida Dicotyledons

Subclass

 Rosidae

Order

 Rhamnales

Family

 Rhamnaceae Buckthorn family

Genus

 Frangula Mill. buckthorn

Species

 Frangula purshiana (DC.) Cooper Cascara buckthorn

This interesting deciduous tree makes a novel addition to the garden.

Found along the Pacific coast from BC to northern California, in USDA zones 7-9, Cascara favors moist locations such as riverbanks.

It often reaches 50 but sometimes grows as a shrub to only 15.

The dark green, glossy leaves are highly decorative and stand out against the small, green-white flowers that form in loose clusters.

Birds relish the cherry-like fruit but they are potentially toxic to humans and should be avoided.

In late autumn, the leaves turn a delicate yellow and persist through many a winter storm. The cured bark is used extensively as a potent laxative. This tree can be cut down close to the soil line and it usually will re-sprout and form a new tree.

     
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