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Rhamnus smithii
Rhamnus smithii (Smith's Buckthorn)
Rhamnaceae (Buckthorn Family)

Foothills. Woodlands and meadows. Summer.
Lone Mesa State Park, June 11, 2008.

Rhamnus smithii occurs in just a few counties of Colorado and New Mexico and it is uncommon in these.  It is a handsome shrub, 6-10 feet tall (six feet tall as shown here) with light gray bark, shiny green leaves, and a myriad of very fragrant flowers that give rise to black berries eaten by many critters.  It is easy to mistake this shrub for Forestiera pubescens; I did.

In 1753 Linnaeus named this genus from "Rhamnos", the classical Greek name for this genus; "smithii" honors naturalist Benjamin Hayes Smith, who first collected this plant near Pagosa Springs in 1893.  Edward Greene named the species, probably in 1896. (Click for biographical information about Smith.)

Rhamnus smithii (Smith's Buckthorn)
Rhamnaceae (Buckthorn Family)

Foothills. Woodlands and meadows. Summer.
Lone Mesa State Park, June 11, 2008.

Rhamnus smithii (Smith's Buckthorn)
Rhamnaceae (Buckthorn Family)

Foothills. Woodlands and meadows. Summer.
Lone Mesa State Park, June 11, 2008.

Rhamnus smithii
Rhamnus smithii (Smith's Buckthorn)
Rhamnaceae (Buckthorn Family)

Foothills. Woodlands and meadows. Summer.
Lone Mesa State Park, July 24 and September 22, 2008.

Rhamnus smithii (Smith's Buckthorn)
Rhamnaceae (Buckthorn Family)

Foothills. Woodlands and meadows. Summer.
Lone Mesa State Park, June 11, 2008.

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

State Color Key

Species present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated
Questionable presence

Range map for Rhamnus smithii