Hansen's Northwest Native Plant Database

Rhamnus purshiana (Cascara, Chittam)



 Plantae Plants


 Tracheobionta Vascular plants


 Spermatophyta Seed plants


 Magnoliophyta Flowering plants


 Magnoliopsida Dicotyledons






 Rhamnaceae Buckthorn family


 Frangula Mill. buckthorn


 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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