A deciduous shrub or small tree with long, slender, pendulous, spiny branches. Leaves opposite, 1⁄2 to 1 in. long, ovate-oblong, with shallow, rounded teeth; both surfaces glabrous and lustrous green, especially the upper one, which has an almost varnished appearance. The spines, stiff, sharp, and 3⁄4 in. or more long, are produced in pairs at each joint. Flowers crowded in clusters on short twigs from the year-old shoots, each flower about 1⁄8 in. across, with no petals, but a greenish-white calyx tubular at the base, divided at the top into five triangular lobes. Anthers exserted; ovary downy. Bot. Mag., t. 9335.
Native of Chile from the central provinces to the Magellan region, and of bordering parts of Argentina; cultivated at Kew since 1842, and quite hardy. The example now in the collection is about 30 ft high. Although it has no colour-beauty to recommend it, its flowers are borne so abundantly in June as to render it quite pretty, and they are, besides, charmingly fragrant. It is well worth cultivating for these, as well as for its distinct and graceful appearance and glossy dark foliage.
Discaria crenata has been confused with:
D. serratifolia (Vent.) Benth. & Hook. f. Colletia serratifolia Vent. – This species is closely allied to D. crenata but has less leafy branchlets, sharply serrated leaves and flowers with sessile anthers and glabrous ovaries. It is uncertain whether the true species is in cultivation; most plants grown under the name are D. crenata.
Another species in this group sometimes seen in cultivation is D.longispina Miers, a native of Uruguay. It has small obovate leaves, 1⁄2 in. or less long, slender spines 2 in. or more long, and crowded clusters of small yellowish-white flowers. It requires the protection of a wall.