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Spiny Redberry
Rhamnus crocea

About Spiny Redberry (Rhamnus crocea) Rhamnus crocea is a species of buckthorn (Rhamnaceae). It is endemic to western North America. This evergreen shrub is typically one to two meters in height. R. crocea typically occurs in chaparral and several other vegetation communities below 3,000 ft. The flowers are not showy; this species is planted for the berries. You may need more than one plant to ensure pollination. It is spiny so consider where you place it. The leaves are small, round, dark green on top and brown or yellow on the underside. The berries and small spheres, bright red.
Plant Description
Plant Type

Max. Height
3.3 - 7 ft (1 - 2.1 m)

Max. Width
7 ft (2.1 m)


Growth Rate
Moderate, Slow


Flower Color
White, Yellow, Cream

Flowering Season
Spring, Winter

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Rocky slopes, dry washes and canyons

Sun, Part Shade

Elevation ?
6' - 10045'

Annual Precip. ?
6.2" - 64.7"

Summer Precip. ?
0.14" - 3.07"

Coldest Month ?
28.9° F - 57.1° F

Hottest Month ?
49.9° F - 80.8° F

Humidity ?
0.47 vpd - 30.21 vpd

Soil Description
Tolerates clay but prefers well drained soil

Soil PH
5.0 - 7.0

Medium, Slow

Cold Tolerance(° F)
Tolerates cold to 25° F

Sunset Zones ?
7*, 14*, 15*, 16*, 17*, 18, 19, 20*, 21*, 22*, 23*, 24*

Wildlife Attracted
Numerous birds are attracted to the fruits.

Landscaping Information
Ease of Care
Very Easy

Water Requirement ?
Extremely Low, Very Low
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Moderately Popular

Max. Summer Water ?
No Summer Water
Keep moist

Organic with Rocks

Prune to shape in winter after all the berries are gone.

Propagation ?
Propagation from Seed: No treatment; 2-2.5 mos. stratification may improve germination.

Common uses
Bank Stabilization, Hedges, Deer Resistant, Bird Gardens, Butterfly Gardens, Bee Gardens

Nursery Availability
Commonly Available

Other Names
Common Names
Redberry Buckthorn

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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