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Genus Berberis species of deciduous and evergreen shrubs


Berberis Darwinii — This is, perhaps, the best known and most ornamental of the family. It forms a dense bush, sometimes ten feet high, with dark glossy leaves, and dense racemes of orange-yellow flowers, produced in April and May, and often again in the autumn.

Berberis Japonica — This is not a very satisfactory shrub in these isles, although in warm seaside districts, and when planted in rich loam, on a gravelly subsoil, it forms a handsome plant with noble foliage, and deliciously fragrant yellow flowers.

Berberis Trifoliolata — This is a very distinct and beautiful Mexican species that will only succeed around London as a wall plant. It grows about a yard high, with leaves fully 3 inches long, having three terminal sessile leaflets, and slender leaf stalks often two inches long. The ternate leaflets are of a glaucous blue colour, marbled with dull green, and very delicately veined. Flowers small, bright yellow, and produced in few-flowered axillary racemes on short peduncles. The berries are small, globular, and light red.

Berberis Aquifolium — Holly-leaved Barberry. This justly ranks as one of the handsomest, most useful, and easily-cultivated of all hardy shrubs. It will grow almost any where, and in any class of soil, though preferring a fairly rich loam. Growing under favourable conditions to a height of 6 feet, this North American shrub forms a dense mass of almost impenetrable foliage. The leaves are large, dark shining green, thickly beset with spines, while the deliciously-scented yellow flowers, which are produced at each branch tip, render the plant particularly attractive in spring. It is still further valuable both on account of the rich autumnal tint of the foliage, and pretty plum colour of the plentifully produced fruit.

Berberis Aquifolium Repens — Creeping Barberry. This is of altogether smaller growth than the preceding, but otherwise they seem nearly allied. From its dense, dwarf growth, rising as it rarely does more than a foot from the ground, and neat foliage, this Barberry is particularly suitable for edging beds, or forming a low evergreen covering for rocky ground or mounds.

Berberis Aristata - Native of Nepaul, is a vigorous-growing species, resembling somewhat our native plant, with deeply serrated leaves, brightly tinted bark, and yellow flowers. It is of erect habit, branchy, and in winter is rendered very conspicuous by reason of the bright reddish colour of the leafless branches.

Berberis Wallichiana — This is exceedingly ornamental, whether as regards the foliage, flowers, or fruit. It is of dense, bushy growth, with large, dark green spiny leaves, and an abundance of clusters of clear yellow flowers. The berries are deep violet-purple, and fully half-an-inch long. Being perfectly hardy and of free growth it is well suited for extensive planting.

Berberis Bealei — This species is one of the first to appear in bloom, often by the end of January the plant being thickly studded with flowers. It is a handsome shrub, of erect habit, the leaves of a yellowish-green tint, and furnished with long, spiny teeth. The clusters of racemes of deliciously fragrant yellow flowers are of particular value, being produced so early in the season.

Berberis Buxifolia — A neat and erect-growing shrub of somewhat stiff and upright habit, and bearing tiny yellow flowers. This is a good rockwork plant, and being of neat habit, with small purplish leaves, is well worthy of cultivation.

Berberis Congestiflora - Not yet well-known, but promises to become a general favourite with lovers of hardy shrubs. It is of unusual appearance for a Barberry, with long, decumbent branches, which are thickly covered with masses of orange-yellow flowers. The branch-tips, being almost leafless and smothered with flowers, impart to the plant a striking, but distinctly ornamental appearance.

Berberis Empetrifolia — This is a neat-habited and dwarf evergreen species, that even under the best cultivation rarely exceeds two feet in height. It is one of the hardiest species, and bears, though rather sparsely, terminal golden-yellow flowers, which are frequently produced both in spring and autumn. For its compact growth and neat foliage it is alone worthy of culture.

Berberis Ilicifolia — This is another handsome evergreen species from South America, and requires protection in this country. The thick, glossy-green leaves, beset with spines, and large orange-red flowers, combine to make this species one of great interest and beauty.

Berberis Nervosa — This, with its terminal clusters of reddish-yellow flowers produced in spring, is a highly attractive North-west American species. It is of neat and compact growth, perfectly hardy, but as yet it is rare in cultivation. The autumnal leafage-tint is very attractive.

Berberis Sinensis — This is a really handsome and distinct species, with twiggy, deciduous branches, from the undersides of the arching shoots of which the flowers hang in great profusion. They are greenish-yellow inside, but of a dark brownish-crimson without, while the leaves are small and round, and die off crimson in autumn.

Berberis Vulgaris — Common Barberry. This is a native species, with oblong leaves, and terminal, drooping racemes of yellow flowers. It is chiefly valued for the great wealth of orange-scarlet fruit. There are two very distinct forms, one bearing silvery and the other black fruit, and named respectively Berberis vulgaris fructo-albo and Berberis vulgaris fructo-nigro.