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buckthorn

[buhk-thawrn] /ˈbʌkˌθɔrn/
noun
1.
any of several, sometimes thorny trees or shrubs belonging to the genus Rhamnus, especially R. frangula, the bark of which is used in medicine.
2.
a tree or shrub belonging to the genus Bumelia, of the sapodilla family, especially B. lycioides, a thorny tree having elliptic leaves and large clusters of white flowers, common in the southern and part of the central U.S.
Origin
1570-1580
1570-80; buck1 + thorn, rendering Neo-Latin cervi spina
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for buckthorn
  • buckthorn seedlings appear vulnerable to fire, perhaps due to their poorly established root structure.
  • Common buckthorn readily invades natural communities.
  • buckthorn may also offer birds less in the way of a nesting structure.
  • Glossy buckthorn and other invasive shrubs are moving into this beautiful wet meadow.
British Dictionary definitions for buckthorn

buckthorn

/ˈbʌkˌθɔːn/
noun
1.
any of several thorny small-flowered shrubs of the genus Rhamnus, esp the Eurasian species R. cathartica, whose berries were formerly used as a purgative: family Rhamnaceae See also sea buckthorn
Word Origin
C16: from buck1 (from the spiny branches, imagined as resembling antlers) + thorn
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Encyclopedia Article for buckthorn

any of about 100 species of shrubs or trees belonging to the genus Rhamnus, family Rhamnaceae, native to temperate areas in the Northern Hemisphere. The cascara buckthorn (R. purshiana) is the source of cascara sagrada, a cathartic drug.

Learn more about buckthorn with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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