The Alder Buckthorn, known also as the Berry-bearing
Alder, its leaves, with their lateral veins, presenting
something of the appearance of the Alder.
Its more slender stems are purplish-brown in hue,
and all the leaves are arranged alternately up
the stems. The leaves differ further from those
of the Purging Buckthorn in having plain, untoothed
edges, and their veins parallel one to another.
The flowers are similar in size to R. cathartica,
but are a paler yellow, fewer in number, and on
longer stalks. The parts of the flower, too, are
in fives instead of fours; and the “berry”,
though similar, is much larger (half-an-inch diameter)
and contains only two seeds. In an unripe condition
these fruits yield a good green dye, much used
by calico printers and others.
The wood made into charcoal was said to be the
best for the purposes of the gunpowder makers,
who knew it by the name of Black Dogwood. The
straight shoots of both species of Buckthorn are
also used for forming walking and umbrella sticks.