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Zones vary by species.


Deciduous, Evergreen, Shrubs, Trees

Grown for form and foliage; clusters of small flowers are rather inconspicuous. Used chiefly as background plantings, hedges. Berries (typically pea size) are enjoyed by birds; volunteer seedlings may be a nuisance.

Rhamnus alaternus

Native to Mediterranean region. Fast, dense growth to 10–20 ft. high and wide. Oval, shiny bright green leaves to 2 in. long; small black berries. Easily trained as single- or multitrunked tree. Takes well to shearing and shaping. Tolerates heat; does well with little or no water but also accepts regular watering.

Rhamnus californica
Rhamnus californica

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Rhamnus californica

Native to California, southwest Oregon, and Arizona. To 3–15 ft. tall, 8 ft. wide. Grown near the ocean, plant may have a low, spreading habit; in woodlands, it grows upright. Leaves are 1–3 in. long, variable—shiny or dull, dark green to yellowish green, usually paler on undersides (some forms have gray, hairy leaf undersides). Berries turn from green to red to black as they ripen. Low-growing, ground cover varieties available.

Rhamnus crocea

Native to Coast Ranges fromNorthern California into Baja California.To 2–3 ft. high, 3–6 ft.wide, with many stiff branches,often spiny at tips. Roundishleaves frequently have finelytoothed edges; glossy dark topale green above, golden orbrownish beneath. Small brightred fruit. Takes full sun or partialshade in its native territory;does best with some shade inhotter inland areas. Little water.

Rhamnus frangula
Rhamnus frangula

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Rhamnus frangula

Native to Europe, western Asia, north Africa. Grows 10–12 ft. (possibly 18 ft.) tall and wide. Oval to roundish, glossy dark green leaves to 3 in. long; turn yellow in autumn. Berries ripen from red to black.

Rhamnus ilicifolia

Native to CoastRanges and Sierra Nevada foothills,mountains of SouthernCalifornia, Arizona, Baja California.Bulky shrub or shrubby treeto a possible 15 ft. tall, nearlyas wide. Roundish, spiny-toothedleaves. Takes heat,drought; makes a good informalscreen. Full sun or partialshade. No irrigation needed.

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