Common Buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica) and Glossy Buckthorn (Frangula alnus) are woody shrubs or small trees that are native to Europe and Asia. Buckthorn was introduced to North America in the early 1800s as an ornamental plant, and it has since spread aggressively across the continent. Buckthorn can now be found in nearly every state and province, where it invades both forest and prairie habitats.
Removing buckthorn is important for the health of forest and prairie ecosystems. buckthorn invades these habitats by outcompeting native plants for light, water, and nutrients. This can alter the structure of the landscape and reduce biodiversity. In addition, buckthorn alters soil chemistry, which can further damage native plant communities. Removal of buckthorn is therefore essential for restoring native plant communities and maintaining ecosystem health.