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Berberis vernae Schneid.

Modern name

Berberis vernae C.K.Schneid.


B. caroli var. hoanghensis Schneid.

A deciduous shrub probably 6 to 10 ft high; young shoots grooved, glabrous, reddish brown by autumn; spines three-forked on the lower part of the shoot and 12 to 118 in. long; at the terminal part of the shoot they are reduced to single, much smaller, needle-like spines. Leaves in clusters of about eight, varying in each cluster from 12 in. to 134 in. long and from 18 to 58 in. wide; oblanceolate or spathulate, rounded or abruptly pointed at the apex, tapered to the base; often quite entire, sometimes with a few bristle-like teeth, quite glabrous; stalks of the larger leaves 15 to 12 in. long. The inflorescence is a pendulous raceme 1 to 134 in. long, the flowers very crowded upon it, opening in May. They are bright yellow, small (about 16 in. wide), each borne on a stalk 112 to 18 in. long. Fruit salmon-red, globose, 15 in. wide. Bot. Mag., t. 9089.

Native of Kansu and N.W. Szechwan, China; discovered in the former province by Purdom, introduced from the latter by Wilson in 1910 (No. 4022). It is a very distinct and pretty species. The pendent racemes come from each joint of the previous year’s growth and are suspended along the shoot in a row. Although the flowers are small they are densely packed and brightly coloured and the effect is very graceful. The shrub is of vigorous growth and evidently very hardy. Wilson mentions having seen it in one place forming hedges. It is named in honour of Verna, daughter of Mr Berger, once of the La Mortola Garden, Ventimiglia. It reached a height of 8 ft and a spread of 12 ft at Headfort in Co. Meath.



Other species in the genus