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Black hawthorn (Rhamnus lycioides)

Diputación de Málaga

Black hawthorn (Rhamnus lycioides)

IDENTIFICATION

It is an evergreen species (1 to 2 m high) with tangled thorny branches and a greyish bark. Its leaves are toughened and arranged in an alternating way. They have a somewhat oval and elongated shape, their edge is full and they can be densely covered with white fur. The flowers are often solitary (sometimes grouped in clusters). They are of a green colour, from fair green to yellowish, and the corolla is formed by four rudimentary petals sometimes absent.  The fruit is a drupe (fleshy fruit with a single pit, like a plum), red at the beginning and black when ripe. It contains two or three oval brown seeds.

WHERE DOES IT LIVE?

It grows from sea level to the medium mountain, bearing in mid-arid to sub-humid environments. It develops in scrubs, among kermes oaks forests, cleared pine forests and other types of bushy masses. It can stand calcareous and siliceous grounds. It is common in crags.

HOW DOES IT LIVE?

It is a dioecious species (flowers with sexes separated on different plants). Flowering occurs in spring, between March and June. The flowers are pollinated by small insects, mainly diptera (flies) and hymenoptera (bees and similar insects). Sometimes, they can also be pollinated by the wind. Fruiting occurs from summer to the beginning of autumn and the dispersion is made by the fauna ingesting this fruit.

WHERE CAN WE SEE IT IN THE MALAGA PROVINCE?

It is a very common species in Málaga. It is present in the Tejeda and Almijara mountain ranges, the north-eastern mountains of the province, the Ronda mountain range and in many coastal saws.  In the Great Path (Gran Senda), we can observe it on stages 3, 4 and 12 to 16, 31 and 33 to 34.

CURIOUS FACTS

It is mainly used in forest restoration and development. It has a great value for birds, providing shelter, nesting places and food. That is why it proves to be a very valuable species in natural areas (parks and protected spaces), urban and peri-urban parks.

SIMILAR SPECIES

It can be confused with the other black hawthorn Rhamnus oleoides. It is slightly different, most of all for its leaves, which are wider, of a more intense green colour and lacking white fur.

Plant Life > Trees, Bushes and Herbaceous Plants
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