Frangula purshiana (DC.) A. Gray
Cascara, Cascara Buckthorn
Rhamnaceae (Buckthorn Family)
Synonym(s): Rhamnus purshiana
USDA Symbol: FRPU7
The bark is the source of the laxative drug, Cascara Sagrada, meaning "sacred bark" in Spanish. It is harvested commercially in Washington and Oregon by stripping bark from wild trees. When a tree is cut down, several sprouts grow from the stump. The berries are consumed by songbirds and bears, raccoons, and other mammals; hence this species is sometimes called "Bearberry."
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Bloom InformationBloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Apr
DistributionUSA: CA , ID , MT , OR , WA
Native Distribution: S. British Columbia south to N. California; also Rocky Mountain region south to N. Idaho and W. Montana; to 5000' (1524 m).
Native Habitat: Moist soils in open areas, along roadsides, and in understory of coniferous and mixed evergreen forests.
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Loam
BenefitUse Medicinal: The bark was boiled and the tea was drunk as a strong laxative by the Nuxalk, Coast Salish, Quileute, Nuu-chah-nulth, Keakwaka'wakw and other groups. Carscara has been scientifically substantiated as an addictive laxative.
Warning: POISONOUS PARTS: Berries. Low toxicity if eaten. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Toxic Principle: Glycosides. (Poisonous Plants of N.C.)
Find Seed or Plants
View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.
National Wetland Indicator Status
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden - Santa Barbara, CA
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Frangula purshiana in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Frangula purshiana in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Frangula purshiana
MetadataRecord Modified: 2007-01-01
Research By: TWC Staff