It’s a 2 3 meters height plant, coming from Europe and Asia. It grows naturally in northern Europe in wet soils in open woods, scrub, hedgerows and bogs, thriving well in sunlight and moderate shade, but less vigorously in dense shade, it prefers acidic soils.
Leaves are ovate with entire margin and glossy dark green color, in late spring it gives small green white flowers in star-shaped. The fruit is a small black berry, ripening from green through red in late summer to dark purple or black in early autumn. Bark is dark or purple gray with various white lenticels.
This is an ideal plant for the wildlife garden or informal, native hedge or wet woodland areas.
Alder buckthorn charcoal is prized in the manufacture of gunpowder, being regarded as the best wood for the purpose. It is particularly highly valued for time fuses because of its very even burn rate. The wood was formerly used for shoe lasts, nails, and veneer.
The bark has been used as a laxative, due to the anthraquinone content. Bark for medicinal use is dried and stored for a year before use.
The bark yields a yellow dye.