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Berberis virescens Hook. f.

Modern name

Berberis virescens Hook.f.

An elegant, deciduous shrub 6 to 9 ft high; with glabrous, reddish-brown, shining branches, armed at each leaf-tuft with a slender, three-parted, or single spine up to 34 in. long. Leaves 23 to 114 in. long, obovate, thin, pale but bright green; the apex rounded or tipped with a small spine, the margins toothed or entire. Flowers 13 in. diameter, pale greenish or sulphur yellow, and produced on slender, short stalks, either in panicles or short racemes. Berries slender, nearly 12 in. long, reddish, covered with bloom. Bot. Mag., t. 7116.

Discovered by Sir Joseph Hooker, at an elevation of 9,000 ft, in Sikkim, in 1849, and introduced to Kew about the same time; this barberry was not given specific rank until described forty years after in the place quoted above. It is not one of the most attractive of barberries in regard to its flowers or fruit, but its habit is elegant, and the orange-red of its stems is pleasing in winter. There are two forms of this species at Kew, one, regarded as typical, with red fruits; the other, var. macrocarpa Bean, with large black fruits 58 in. long. The latter is considered by Dr Ahrendt to be a distinct species, which he has described under the name B. paravirescens.



Other species in the genus