Rhamnus californica
Common name: 
California Coffeeberry
California Buckthorn
RAM-nus kal-i-for-NI-ka
Rhamnus californicus
Native to (or naturalized in) Oregon: 
  • Evergreen shrubs, from low spreading to upright, sometimes a small tree, 4-8(20) ft (1.2-2.4(6) m) tall, often in rounded clumps.  Buds naked, brown, 3 mm long.  Leaves alternate, simple, 4-6 cm long, oblong-elliptical to oblong-ovate, usually a rounded base, margins finely serrate to entire, sometimes rolled under (revolute), dark green above, paler and smooth or pubescent below, pinnate venation, 8-12 vein pairs, lower veins rust colored; petiole 4-12 mm long.  Flowers small, greenish, few per cluster.  Fruit globose, 8 mm across, ripening from green to red then purple-black, contain 2 seeds which resemble the commercial coffee bean.
  • Sun or shade.  Not particular about soil, limited or no irrigation required, can be pruned and shaped.
  • Hardy to USDA Zone 7     Native range from extreme southwestern Oregon southward along the coast and Coast Ranges to southwestern California.  A shrub component of chaparral, woodland, and forest communities.  Two subspecies recognized, R. c. subsp. californica, found in much of California, especially in maritime chaparral areas, and R. c. subsp. occidentalis, found mostly in southern Oregon and northern California.
  • Several named selections available, including:
    • 'Eve Case'- broad leaves, dense, 4-8 ft, large fruit.
    • 'Seaview' - broad leaves, low growing, spreading, to 2 ft (0.6 m) tall.
    • 'Mound San Bruno' - narrow leaves, to 6 ft tall and wide.
  • Oregon State University campus: SW corner of the native plants are behind Peavy (near Driden Hall)
Click image to enlarge
  • plant habit

    plant habit

  • leafy shoot

    leafy shoot

  • leaves


  • leaves


  • leaves and young flower clusters

    leaves and young flower clusters

  • flower cluster and leaves

    flower cluster and leaves

  • plant habit, in woods

    plant habit, in woods

  • plant habit, in landscape

    plant habit, in landscape

  • ripening fruit

    ripening fruit

  • unripe and ripe fruit

    unripe and ripe fruit

  • trunks, bark

    trunks, bark