I grew and sold California buckthorn for several years. Early on I sold it wholesale to other nurseries, but I also sold it at Farmers Markets in Cochise County. I’m a terrible plant promoter I guess and the plant never really got popular, at least in my circles. It’s ironic because in California there are some named cultivars (nativars folks like to say…whatever) sold in nurseries. We’ve had some nice specimens over the years at our little homestead. And birds love the fruit so thanks to them we’ve had some volunteers pop up around the place.
The photos are of a volunteer growing next to our barn. I love it! That’s a sotol stalk in the background.
And listen, don’t go grinding up the seed of Frangula californica to make a coffee substitute. Ugh, it would be dreadful and make you feel very bad…guaranteed. There are certainly other medicinal uses and you may also want to look up California buckthorn’s northwest relative Frangula purshiana or cascara sagrada. Now you know.