A modern reference to temperate woody plants, including updated content from this site and much new material, can be found at Trees and Shrubs Online.

Berberis empetrifolia Lam.

Modern name

Berberis empetrifolia Lam.

A low, evergreen shrub, rarely more than 12 to 18 in. high, with slender trailing branches in this country, but, as seen in Chile, often sturdier and more erect; young shoots red. Leaves 12 to 1 in. long, quite narrow (less than 18 in.), and made to look still narrower by the margins being curled down; the apex is spine-tipped. The leaves arise in tufts from the axils of simple, or three-parted spines, 14 to 12 in. long. Flowers produced singly, or two together at each tuft, golden yellow. Fruit nearly black. Blossoms in mid-May.

Introduced from Chile in 1827 by Messrs Low, then nurserymen at Clapton. Quite distinct from any other barberry in leaf and habit, and the lowest-growing of them all, this little shrub is well worth a place in the rock garden. It is not common, but has played an important part in European horticulture in being one of the parents of the beautiful hybrid – B. × stenophylla. It was originally discovered by Commerson, the French traveller in South America.



Other species in the genus