Rhamnus cathartica L. is a large shrub or small tree native throughout much of Europe and eastern Asia, but invasive in North America. In this review, the current native and invasive distributions of R. cathartica are documented and possible factors limiting its naturalized distribution are considered. Within its broad distribution, R. cathartica occurs in diverse habitats ranging from urban forests to fens. Rhamnus cathartica is shade tolerant, prefers disturbed areas with moist, but not saturated, soils and may have an affinity for alkaline soils high in calcium carbonate.
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Vol. 134 • No. 3