Cascara Sagrada (Rhamnus purshiana), packet of 5 fresh seeds, organic


Family:  Buckthorn (Rhamnaceae)
Hardy to Zones 6 to 10
(Chittem, Chittam, Shit-um) Small to midsized deciduous tree.  Native to the western coast of North America and the Rocky Mountains.  The bark is gray or whitish and warty; it tends to harbor lichens.  In the spring the tree unfolds its prominently veined leaves, then forms the cup-shaped greenish flowers that give way to the large, round, jet-black drupes.  The trees are good for climbing, as my children proved many a time in their early years.  Chittam does not mind harboring tree houses, either.  The cured bark is the source an anthroquinone laxative, and is actually used in great quantity to make the product “X-Lax,” the chocolatey confection with the surprising aftereffects.  The bark must be cured for a year after removing from the tree, or else the use of same will cause uncomfortable gripping pains in the abdomen.  “Cascara Sagrada” literally means “sacred bark” which just goes to show how much the conquistadores valued a tree that would, well, make you poop.  Tree prefers sun and moist lowland soils, but will survive as a gnarly bush even on the mountainside.  We provide only fresh, undried seed from our own harvest, as we have found that the seed quickly loses viability in dried storage. Sow immediately on receipt.  Germination can be surprisingly quick (like a week or two) or it can require the usual overwintering before germinating.  Normally some of the seed germinates immediately and some germinates after overwintering–do not prematurely discard flats. Prick the seedlings out into gallon pots and grow that way for a year, to size them up before transplanting to the landscape.   The trees are lovely on the landscape.  They are fast-growing, with a handsome, spread-armed habit, very good shade, in all respects a pleasant tree to have around. Wildlife love them, as do the constipated.  Plant at least 15 feet apart, wider spacing if possible.

5 Seeds per packet, certified organically grown

(Fresh, undried seed prestratified and delivered moist starting in August and ongoing until supplies run out.  Please sow immediately upon receipt.)

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  1. Question

    Pamela Helbling

    Will this grow in northeastern Pennsylvania

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