Rhamnaceae (buckthorn) family

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Rhamnaceae example (Rhamnus cathartica)

Common Name and Type Genus: Buckthorn family, derived from the Rhamnus genus

Distribution: Worldwide

Family Size: Over 50 genera and nearly 1000 species

Notable Genera: Rhamnus and Frangula yield most of the species that are commonly known as buckthorn, some of which are considered invasive in North America. The family also includes commercial species of Alphitonia from Australia and the Pacific Islands, as well as Berchemia, containing pink ivory from Africa. 

Comments: Many of the useable woods from Rhamnaceae yield fine-grained, colorful lumber, ranging from pink or orange to darker reddish brown. However, there is a great contrast in commonness and desirability between these trees, from buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica) being treated as a ubiquitous invasive weed, to pink ivory (Berchmia zeyheri) being revered as sacred by the Zulu and “rarer than diamonds.”

  Genera listing

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