Rhamnus purshiana, Cascara, Pacific Northwest Native Plants, Oregon Native Tree, Sparrowhawk Native Plants, Portland
Frangula purshiana, Rhamnus purshiana, Cascara, Chitum, Pacific Northwest Native Plants, Oregon Native Trees, Sparrowhawk Native Plants

Cascara

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Frangula purshiana / Rhamnus purshiana

  • Size at maturity: 30' tall, 20' wide
  • Canopy layer: small tree
  • Light requirements: full sun to full shade
  • Moisture requirements: moist soil
  • Growth rate: medium
  • Special features: medicinal, supports hummingbirds

Since Cascara (also known as Chitum) prefers a shady, moist condition, it is often found growing as an understory tree with Vine Maple and Red Alder. The 1/4” black berries, while not especially tasty for humans, are attractive to raccoons and a variety of birds. The bark was used medicinally by Northwest natives and continues to be harvested for its laxative properties. (Portland Plant List, 2016)

Photo Credit 1: Eileen Stark

Photo Credit 2: Tara Lemezis