Buckthorn is a rather thorny native deciduous shrub of Europe and the British Isles. It is found locally on chalky, calcareous clay and fenland soils in southern England, parts of northern England and Ireland. It is often found growing with hawthorn, willow and wayfaring tree.
Buckthorn forms a large bush or small tree and is commonly found in ancient or semi-ancient woodlands, and in hedgerows.
The creamy white flowers are borne in May and June, and the male and female flowers are separate.
The fruits are black berries with a single seed produced in autumn. The bark and berries of buckthorn are highly purgative and have been used for centuries as a laxative.