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Berberis chillanensis (Schneid.) Sprague

Modern name

Berberis montana Gay


B. montana var. chillanensis Schneid.

A deciduous shrub 5 to 15 ft high; young shoots greyish or greyish brown, minutely downy or glabrous; spines simple, three-pronged or absent, 16 to 13 in. long. Leaves very shortly stalked, narrowly obovate, mostly blunt or rounded at the apex; 16 to 12 in. long, 112 to 15in. wide; quite entire. Flowers in fascicles, each 12 in. wide and borne on a stalk 15 to 25 in. long; sepals yellow, petals pale orange coloured; stamens about as long as the petals. Fruit lemon-shaped, 13 in. long, black, covered with purple bloom, the style prominently exposed at the end.

Native of the Chilean and Argentine Andes; discovered in the middle of the last century in the Cordillera of Chillan and first described by Schneider as a variety of B. montana, to which it is closely allied. Comber found it again in flower in January 1926, growing at 6,000 ft (415A), but the form he collected in seed grew at a lower altitude and was a taller plant, to 8 ft high (415). This differed from Schneider’s type in having downy flower-stalks and more densely downy stems, and was distinguished by Sprague as var. hirsutipes, which is thus the form in which the species is cultivated (Bot. Mag., t. 9503). It is rare in gardens and not quite so fine a species as B. montana, for the flowers are smaller and more palely coloured.



Other species in the genus