The pest search is moving to the Tiaki Tāmaki Makaurau website from early June 2021. Find out more.


Also known as:
Evergreen Buckthorn

General description

Evergreen shrub < 5 m high. Shoots are angular and usually purple when young. Leaves are glossy, < 6 x 3 cm and entire or toothed. Flowers are fragrant, green and held in axillary racemes. Drupes are broad-obovoid and dark glossy red ripening to black.

What you need to know

To help protect our environment:

  • You must not breed, distribute, release or sell rhamnus. As rhamnus is a National Pest Plant Accord species, these restrictions apply within the Auckland region and across the whole of New Zealand.
  • You must not plant rhamnus within the Auckland region, unless you are transferring an existing plant on your land to another location within the boundaries of the same property.
  • You must destroy any rhamnus on land that you occupy if it has been planted in breach of the above rules and you are directed to do so by an authorised person.
  • If you identify a rhamnus infestation on land you occupy within the Hauraki Gulf Controlled Area, you must report it to Auckland Council.
  • If you occupy land within the buffer area of a park where rhamnus is being managed, you must destroy all rhamnus on that land. View a map of park buffers where this applies. To find out more about how we’re protecting Auckland’s parkland from pest plants, visit our pest plant buffer pages.
If you see rhamnus anywhere on Aotea/Great Barrier Island group, please report it to Auckland Council at

Scrublands, forest margins, coastal cliffs, rocky outcrops, plantations.

Seeds dispersed by birds and possibly soil movement. Human-mediated dispersal through dumping of garden waste.

Forms dense stands, preventing the recruitment of native vegetation.

Site Management

Follow up treated areas 3 times per year. Encourage natural regeneration of native plants or replant treated areas where possible after 2-3 treatments to establish dense ground cover and minimise reinvasion.

Recommended approaches

Physical control

Method: Dig out

Plant parts requiring disposal: Seeds

Disposal options: Remove to greenwaste or landfill if practical


Biocontrol is currently not available for this species.

Community agrichemical control recommendations

No qualifications
Cut stump and paste freshly cut base of stems with metsulfuron gel
Ringbark stem and paste with metsulfuron gel

Basic Growsafe certified
Cut stump and spray freshly cut base with 5g metsulfuron-methyl per 1 L of water

Certified Handler/Experienced agrichemical user
Drill and inject trees with 10g metsulfuron-methyl per 1L of water if safe to do so. Drill 18mm holes (tangentially angled downwards) in a spiral up the trunk. For 50mm stems drill one hole. For 100mm stems drill two holes. For larger stems drill holes 150mm apart.
Foliar spray seedlings with 5g metsulfuron-methyl per 10L of water and 20ml penetrant

Safety notes

Large trees must not be ringbarked or drilled that are closer than 1.5 times the height of the tree from paths, walkways and property.

Trees over 4 metres in height should be removed by a qualified arborist.

CAUTION: When using any herbicide or pesticide please read the label thoroughly to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed.

Similar species

Japanese spindle tree
Euonymus japonicus

The stems of evergreen buckthorn are purplish red and hairy as opposed to the green and hairless stems of Japanese spindle tree.

Search tags

RPMP status

Hauraki Gulf Controlled Area pest (Progressive Containment)
Aotea (Exclusion)
Parkland with Significant Ecological Areas (Site-led)
Whole region (Sustained Control)
National Pest Plant Accord Species
Rhamnus - Main species image