European or common buckthorn is a non-native plant that originated in Eurasia. It was brought to the United States to use for hedges and as ornamental shrubs. Minnesota has classified buckthorn as a noxious weed. Selling or transporting buckthorn is illegal. Removal is advised.
Once mature buckthorn plants are established in an area, it is spread to new areas by birds. Birds eat the berries and distribute the seeds through their droppings. These seeds sprout along structures and in natural areas, becoming a nuisance.
European buckthorn quickly out-competes beneficial native plants. An area infested with buckthorn often lacks other vegetation. This may result in soil erosion and lead to poor water quality. Areas become less able to support wildlife, and species diversity declines.