leaves are oval, 2-7 cm long, and are borne alternately on the twigs.
They are hairless with untoothed margins. The stalk is approximately
10 mm long.
is a small deciduous
shrub up to 4-5 m in height, with wide-spreading branches. It is found
on moist acid soils along riversides and on peat.
flowers, which have 5 greeny-white petals are borne in small clusters
in the axils
of the leaves. They may be seen from May-July.
The round fruits
are up to 1 cm across. They are not ripe until October/November when
they turn reddish, then black.
and Purging buckthorn
leaves are the main food plant of the caterpillars of the brimstone
used for making high quality gunpowder as late as 1946.
A mild laxative,
buckthorn bark, can be made from the dried bark.