The Purging Buckthorn may be found in woods,
thick hedgerows, and bushy places on commons,
southward of Westmorland, showing a decided preference
for chalky soils. In Ireland it only occurs rarely.
It is distinguished by its stiff habit, and by
some of the leaves being gathered into bundles
at the ends of the shoots, and many of the branchlets
are hardened into spines.
The leaves are egg-shaped, with toothed edges,
with short leaf-stalks and of a yellowish-green
The yellowish-green flowers are very small, and
will be found both singly and in clusters from
the leaf-axils. There are a four-cleft calyx,
four petals, four stamens, or four stigmas, for
the sexes are usually on separate plants.
The fruit is black, round, and about a quarter
of an inch across, containing four stones. These
so-called “berries” are ripe in September.