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Berberis dasystachya Maxim.

Modern name

Berberis dasystachya Maxim.

A deciduous shrub up to 12 ft high and more in diameter; young shoots grey the second and following years; spines often scarce, usually single, up to 58 in. long. Leaves minutely bristle-toothed, 1 to 212 in. long, scarcely as wide, roundish elliptical, rounded at the apex, shortly tapered at the base to a slender stalk which is often 1 to 112 in. long. Flowers opening in April and May, very closely packed, as many as forty together, on slender racemes 212 in. long. The flower is small, globose, scarcely 14 in. wide, lemon-yellow. Fruit egg-shaped, 14 in. long, coral-red.

Native of Kansu, China, also probably of Szechwan; named by Maximowicz in 1877. The plants at present in cultivation all appear to have been introduced by Farrer, who describes the shrub as having ‘arching sprays, hanging out tails of blossom all along, scented like Lilium auratum’. The finest plant I know of is in Mr Cox’s garden at Glendoick, in the Tay valley below Perth. I saw it in June 1931, a noble bush 10 ft high and 15 ft in diameter; it had then passed out of bloom, but the shoots were thickly wreathed with naked flower-stalks; its largest leaves were fully 3 in. long. (This plant now measures 14 ft in height and 18 ft in spread – 1965.)

This species is distinct in its long-stalked, roundish leaves and slender racemes of smallish flowers. It was given an Award of Merit on 20th April 1926, at Westminster, under the name “kansuensis”’. Very hardy.

From the Supplement (Vol. V)

This species has been figured in Bot. Mag., n.s., t. 784. It is the type of Schneider’s small section Dasystachyae, differing from B. vulgaris and its allies (though not very clearly) in the more distinctly petiolate leaves and the smaller flowers on shorter pedicels. In Ahrendt’s classification all the species placed in this group are Chinese, except for the puzzling B. zabeliana, a native of the north-west Himalaya and Afghanistan.



Other species in the genus