Rhamnus cathartica, Common Buckthorn

Size: shrub, 18-25' average height at maturity

Buds: dark brown to black, .25", closely appressed, imbricate scales, glabrous

Leaves: deciduous, alternate or opposite, 1.5-3" long, .75-3" wide, simple, elliptic or ovate, crenate-serrulate margins, acute or obtuse tip, dark shiny green on top, light green underside, yellow-green in fall

Twigs: numerous, terminal thorns at least as long as buds

Flowers: usually dioecious, small, 4 petals, yellow-green, in umbels of 2-5, bloom in May

Fruit: .25" berry-like drupe, shiny black

Bark: dark gray with hint of purple, shiny, exfoliating in little curls on older trees, large horizontal lenticel-like markings