The common buckthorn grows naturally throughout Finland, apart from the north of Lapland. Often it is a small tree but if it is damaged, it sprouts from the base and continues life as a shrub. The small flowers are yellow-green and the berries ripen from green through red to black. They attract birds, so new shrubs spread widely. In fertile moist soils and good light the buckthorn develops into a beautiful, small, slender-branched tree with a round crown. The wood is a bright orange.
The bark, leaves and berries of the buckthorn are used in dying wool, producing delightful shades. Traditionally the bark has been used to treat constipation. It was collected from finger-thick shoots, dried, and stored for at least a year before use.
NOTE: We do not recommend trying this at home, because all parts of the buckthorn are poisonous.