Frangula californica ssp. californica
Frangula californica (Eschsch.) A. Gray ssp. californica
California Buckthorn, Coffeeberry
Rhamnaceae (Buckthorn Family)
Synonym(s): Rhamnus californica, Rhamnus californica ssp. californica
USDA Symbol: frcac5
A variable species with many subspecies throughout its range. It is an upright/rounded to low/spreading shrub from 3-15 ft. tall. The evergreen or persistent leaves are shiny light green and oblong. Flowers are creamy-white in clusters and are followed by green or black but usually dark-red berries.
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Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Fruit Type: Drupe
Size Notes: Up to about 15 feet tall.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul
DistributionUSA: CA , HI
Native Distribution: S. OR Coast Ranges through most of CA into NV, AZ & Baja
Native Habitat: Dry, sandy or rocky slopes, ravines & hillsides
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Soil Description: Rocky or sandy soils.
Conditions Comments: A tough, desirable plant. Usually deer proof.
Value to Beneficial InsectsSpecial Value to Native Bees
Supports Conservation Biological Control
This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.
PropagationDescription: Germination of seeds is easy. Cuttings are difficult. Seeds should be cleaned of pulp before sowing.
Seed Treatment: No pretreatment seems necessary. If seeds have been stored, dormancy can be broken with a cool-moist stratification period.
Commercially Avail: yes
Find Seed or Plants
View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.
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
BibliographyBibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.
Bibref 995 - Native Landscaping from El Paso to L.A. (2000) Wasowski, S. and A. Wasowski
Search More Titles in Bibliography
Web ReferenceWebref 30 - Calflora (2018) Calflora
Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Frangula californica ssp. californica in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Frangula californica ssp. californica in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Frangula californica ssp. californica
MetadataRecord Modified: 2022-10-18
Research By: TWC Staff