Frangula (Rhamnus) californica ‘Josephine County’

(California) Coffee Berry. Greg collected the berries/seed from this evergreen shrubby species in southwestern Oregon. In Josephine county it is a common dry shade understory component of both the forest and in open stands in chaparral. A light and gaunt  evergreen with slightly glossy convex leaves that hang on the tips of the gray branches. In spring/ summer tiny green flowers morph into the familiar berries. They start green move to red and arrive at black/brown. To 6′ tall x 6′ wide on average. Growth in rich soil is much more verdant and dense. In dry shade, its natural haunt, it assumes its most common form. Birds will spread this tough shrub that is ideal for wild scaping, xeric landscaping, rural areas. Perhaps its most wonderful characteristic is that it is deer resistant- they will munch but it will cause the plant to return twice as dense and verdant. Leaves are glossy on top and blue/gray on the reverse and persist for 3-5 years. Full sun to quite a bit of shade in average to slightly enriched soil. Water to establish, or ideally plant in fall then natural rainfall alone. It will tolerate quite a bit of shade as well as root competition but not low shade, high overstay shade is better. . Informal shrub- good year round appearance. Extreme drought adaptation when established. In habitat this shrub is found with Arctostaphylos canescens, viscida, and Rhododendron occidentale and macrophyllum. Overstory is Chamaecyparis lawsoniana, Pseudotsuga, Pinus attentuata, Umbellularia californica. Quercus sp.  Cold hardy. Great for wildlife. Seed grown., Oregon native plant

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Frangula (Rhamnus) purshiana

AKA Cascara or Cascara sagrada. This is a widespread small tree to shrub in the northwestern part of the United States to SW Canada. West of the Cascades  its found in almost every biome. It can be a wind contorted shrub on blasting headlands at the coast. In the Willamette Valley its common where birds drop the berries/seeds on fence rows and it borders fields with native roses and Oso Berry. Its even found in the Bitteroot mountains in Montana/Idaho. It was frequently used by indigenous people as a laxative. Cascara is a small round crowned tree/shrub. In drier locations it is more shrub like but in deep, rich soil with access to water it can grow to be a thirty five foot tree. Large round alternate leaves turn dark green and glossy in summer. In May and June the tiny greenish flower appear and transform into red fruits by autumn. This is the mechanism that makes this plant so widespread, its dispersal by birds. A lovely little straight trunked shade tree that requires almost no water once established. It functions as an understory component as well. Full sun to quite a bit of shade, including dry shade. Easy to grow and climate adapted. Average life span 35 years. In winter its very symmetrical open branch structure is handsome. Fall color is soft yellow to chartreuse and not especially showy. Oregon native plant

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Frangula (Rhamnus) californica ‘Leatherleaf’

A really cool version of California Coffeeberry which is also native to SW Oregon. Thick deep green rounded leaves clothe madder red stems densely on this large shrub that can achieve tree like status with time. Insignificant green flowers transform into brown then black berries eaten by wildlife. Incredibly drought adapted never needing ANY  supplemental water. Well drained soils in full sun. To 9′ x 9′ in 8 years. Pruning can keep it lower and it would make an admirable hedge. Cold hardy to near 0ºF. Often not bothered by deer and one of the best deer resistant hedges for rural area- put a test plant out first to see if your deer are different It grows quickly with little to no irrigation.

Oregon native plant

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