Rhamnus cathartica

General poisoning notes:

European buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica) is a small naturalized shrub that is found throughout much of eastern Canada and in the Prairie Provinces. The shrub has spines on the branches and trunks. These shrubs commonly grow along fence rows and roadsides and in old fields. In some areas, they are a common undergrowth shrub in woodlands. The bark and fruits contain chemicals that have a strong purgative action that can affect humans. Severe poisoning is rare (Cooper and Johnson 1984, Lampe and McCann 1986).

References:

  • Cooper, M. R., Johnson, A. W. 1984. Poisonous plants in Britain and their effects on animals and man. Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, England. 305 pp.
  • Fuller, T. C., McClintock, E. 1986. Poisonous plants of California. Univ. California Press, Berkeley, Calif.,USA. 432 pp.
  • Lampe, K. F., McCann, M. A. 1985. AMA Handbook of poisonous and injurious plants. American Medical Assoc. Chicago, Ill.,USA. 432 pp.

Nomenclature:

Scientific Name
Rhamnus cathartica L.
Vernacular name(s)
European buckthorn
Scientific family name
Rhamnaceae
Vernacular family name
buckthorn

Go to ITIS*ca for more taxonomic information on: Rhamnus cathartica

References:

  • Agriculture Quebec. 1975. Noms des maladies des plantes du Canada/ Names of plant diseases in Canada. , Quebec City, Que., Canada. 288 pp.
  • Alex, J. F., Cayouette, R., Mulligan, G. A. 1980. Common and botanical names of weeds in Canada/Noms populaire et scientifiques des plantes nuisibles du Canada. Revised. Agric. Can. Publ., Ottawa, Ont., Canada. 132 pp.
  • Bailey, L. H., Bailey, E. Z. 1976. Hortus third. Revised. MacMillan, New York, N.Y.,USA. 1290 pp.
  • Scoggan, H. J. 1978, 1979. The flora of Canada. Nat. Mus. Nat. Sci. (Ottawa) Publ. Bot. 7(1)-7(4). 1711 pp.
  • Van Wijk, H. L. 1911. A dictionary of plant names. Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague, The Netherlands. 1444 pp.
  • Victorin, M. 1964. Flore Laurentienne. 2nd ed. Univ. Montreal, Montreal, Que., Canada. 952 pp.

Geographic Information

  • Manitoba
  • Nova Scotia
  • Ontario
  • Prince Edward Island
  • Quebec
  • Saskatchewan

References:

  • Bailey, L. H., Bailey, E. Z. 1976. Hortus third. Revised. MacMillan, New York, N.Y.,USA. 1290 pp.
  • Boivin, B. 1966, 1967. Énumération des plantes du Canada. Provencheria 6. Nat. Can. (Que.) 93: 253-274; 371-437; 583-646; 989-1063. 94: 131-157; 471-528; 625-655.

Image or illustration

Images: Rhamnus cathartica - Google Search

Toxic parts:

  • bark
  • mature fruit

References:

  • Cooper, M. R., Johnson, A. W. 1984. Poisonous plants in Britain and their effects on animals and man. Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, England. 305 pp.

Notes on Toxic plant chemicals:

This plant contains glycosides, which upon hydrolysis yield anthraquinones such as emodin (a trihydroxymethylanthraquinone). These chemicals have a purgative action; emodin has been used in laxative preparations (Cooper and Johnson 1984).

Toxic plant chemicals:

  • anthraquinones
  • emodine

References:

  • Cooper, M. R., Johnson, A. W. 1984. Poisonous plants in Britain and their effects on animals and man. Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, England. 305 pp.

Animals/Human Poisoning:

Note: When an animal is listed without additional information, the literature (as of 1993) contained no detailed explanation.

Humans

General symptoms of poisoning:

Notes on poisoning

European buckthorn is usually ingested by children, who eat the black berries or chew the twigs. Under normal circumstances, the symptoms are usually mild and are limited to transient abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea. Ingesting 20 berries or more can have more serious consequences such as gastrointestinal symptoms, fluid depletion, kidney damage, muscular convulsions, and hemorrhage. Serious cases may result in difficult breathing and collapse. Treatment includes inducing vomiting, if it has not already occurred, and fluid replacement (Cooper and Johnson 1984, Fuller and McClintock 1985).

References:

  • Cooper, M. R., Johnson, A. W. 1984. Poisonous plants in Britain and their effects on animals and man. Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, England. 305 pp.
  • Fuller, T. C., McClintock, E. 1986. Poisonous plants of California. Univ. California Press, Berkeley, Calif., USA. 432 pp.
  • Lampe, K. F., McCann, M. A. 1985. AMA Handbook of poisonous and injurious plants. American Medical Assoc. Chicago, Ill.,USA. 432 pp.

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