Greene Smith's Buckthorn (Rhamnus smithii)
I was visiting a local nursery that carries a small selection of native trees for Colorado and I spotted a tree I had not seen before. The tree was pretty tall but looked interesting from a distance. I picked up the tree to check the roots and trunk and was pleasantly surprised to see nabari and a gnarly twisted trunk with some deadwood on it. The leaves appeared to be relatively small. My initial thoughts at the nursery was to reduce the height of the tree by at least half to a set of branches that might make a nice apex. The tree has one lower branch that extends about 24″ and I thought it might make for a nice simi-cascade or even a cascade tree. One of my concerns is that this tree is a Buckthorn and my prior experience with them is that they are brittle and break easily. I do like the fact that it does not have any thorns. I expect the tree will end up being a semi-cascade with a small-medium apex. Hopefully the front of the tree will be able to show off the deadwood on the tree. This tree is native to only 6 counties in the United States. I am hoping this tree turns into will turn into a prized native Bonsai.