Invasive SpeciesCommon buckthorn

Rhamnus cathartica
FOUND by Invasive Explorers
South Portland
ID Confirmed
Quality checked by Mrs. Gurnee
Peer reviewed by The Chipmunks
Field Notes
The weather was a chilly 45 degrees and partly cloudy mostly sunny. The date was 9/20/14. It was windy outside and the air smelled like gas and fresh air. When we were outside I heard cars passing and leaves cracking also I heard a little howling in the wind. I saw a chain link fence, a parking lot, a road, Mahoney middle school, trout brook, and oak trees. We were on the other side of the chain link fence, on a steep hill leading down to a brook. The time was 10:00 am. We did not see any squirrels or chipmunks, that surprised me a lot. We also had a hard time taking pictures because of the sun.
A sketch of our study site.
Supporting Evidence
Photo of my evidence.
The bark is a dark gray-brown and has small bumps going up the sides. There is also small horizontal slits going up the length of the bark. This distinguishes it from Smooth Buckthorn because Smooth Buckthorn small white splotches going up the length of the bark and small white bumps.
Photo of my evidence.
Common Buckthorn's leaves have a jagged toothed edge and a very noticeable veins. The leaves are normally 3 to 15 centimeters long, and in our case are normally up to 6 centimeters. They are normally opposite. However the glossy buckthorn has wavy edges with smooth edges. The leaves are 3 to 6 centimeters, and are usually alternate. The leaves are also hairy underneath.
Photo of my evidence.
Common Buckthorn is small shrub and our specimen is around 2 meters tall. Most of the branches are drooping. Smooth Buchthorn is also a shrub and can grow up to 9 meters tall. The branches of Smooth Buckthorn grow upward which would distinguish it from Common Buckthorn.
Species Observation: Species Looked For
Did you find it?: 
I think I found it
Scientific name:
Rhamnus cathartica
Common name:
Common buckthorn
Sampling method: 
Just looking around
Photo of our sampling method.
Place Studied
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Map this species
N 43.634474 °
W -70.250616 °
Observation Site Information
A photo of our study site.
Upland - Developed areas
Trip Information
Mill Creek Trout Brook
Trip date: 
Tue, 2014-10-21 12:10
Town or city: 
South Portland
Type of investigation: 
Species Survey


Thanks for the feedback it means a lot.

I looked up what the "white splotches" are called. They are called lenticles. I will look up why it spreads so fast soon.

Lenticels is correct.

The web says, lenticels are one of many raised pores in the stem of a woody plant that allows gas exchange between the atmosphere and the internal tissues.

The word is derived from the word lens because the pores are shaped like a lens.

Nice work. It is common buckthorn. How do you think it spreads around so fast?

Can you find the scientific term used to name the small white splotches going up the length of the bark and small white bumps?

Great job!