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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


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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: slow
  • 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