Home to the plants of the Sonoran, Chihuahuan and Mojave Deserts
Rhamnaceae or Buckthorn Family
The Rhamnaceae or Buckthorn family is a large family of plants containing approximately 50 genera with over 800 accepted species names. Rhamnaceae are cosmopolitan in distribution with the greatest diversity in the tropics and sub-tropics and warm temperate regions such as the southwestern United States.
Species are woody, mainly erect shrubs, trees, some perennial herbs, others twining and/or climbing. Plants may be heavily armed from modified stipules, or unarmed.
Arizona Rhamnaceae are all shrubs or small trees, simple leaves, small flowers, perfect or unisexual, with or without petals. Many species within Rhamnaceae have value as winter browse for deer.
The largest genera worldwide include; Phylica, Rhamnus, Ceanothus, Gouania, Cryptandra, Ziziphus and Berchemia.
In North America the largest genera include; Ceanothus, Rhamnus, Colubrina, Ziziphus, Condalia and Frangula.
Plants of Economic Importance include: The Jujube Tree, Ziziphus jujuba is a large shade tree from China that also bears edible fruit. Ceanothus is an important genus, endemic to North America with beautiful native and ornamental species as well.