Cluster of red and dark berries on shiny leaves.
Photo Credit
Courtesy of briweldon, Wikimedia.

California buckthorn

Scientific name
Rhamnus californica
Also Known As
Coffeeberry, Frangula californica
Plant Family
California buckthorn is an attractive, evergreen shrub, between 3 to 12 feet in height. The branches may have a reddish tinge and the new twigs are often red in color. The leaves are dark green above and paler on the undersides and alternately arranged. Flowers bloom in May and June, are small, greenish and occur in clusters.
Identification Hints

Find California buckthorn in oak woodland and chaparral habitats west of the Sierra Nevada in California.  It can also be found in southwest Oregon and is naturalized on the island of Hawai’i.

Did You Know?

California buckthorn is often called coffeeberry because its berries (fruits) contain two nut-like seeds that look like coffee beans. After a fire or other disturbance such as cutting that removes the above ground stems, etc., the plants sprouts vigorously from buds on the root crown. Individual plants can live 100 to 200 years.

Nativar Research Project:  Contribute your pollinator observations of this native plant and these three of its cultivars.  Are pollinators as attracted to the nativars as they are to the original native plant?  Read more at the Nativar Research Project page.

Rhamnus californica 'Eve Case'  Rhamnus californica 'Little Sur'  Rhamnus californica 'Mound San Bruno'