Berberis buxifolia

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 Berberis buxifolia subsp. var.  Calafate
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Berberidaceae > Berberis buxifolia var. , Lam.

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Berberis buxifolia, common name the Magellan Barberry, in Spanish Calafate, is an evergreen shrub, with shiny box-like leaves. The Calafate is native to the south of Argentina and Chile and is a symbol of Patagonia.

The bush grows to a height of 1 - 1.5 m. It has many arching branches, each covered in many tripartite spines. The bush has many small yellow flowers in summer. Its edible blue-black berries are harvested for jams, but are eaten fresh too - a legend tells that anyone who eats a Calafate berry will be certain to return to Patagonia.

The Calafate is grown commercially for its fruit, potential medical uses and as a garden plant or bonsai. Its wood is used to make a red dye. The cultivar Berberis buxifolia 'Nana' is widely available as a garden shrub, and is also used in commercial plantings as a low spiny hedge to discourage intruders, but it does not fruit.

Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

Berberis buxifolia, Poir. (B. dulcís, Sweet). One to 3 ft.: branches brown, grooved; spines usually 3-parted, short: Lvs. cuneate, obovate or elliptic, ⅓-1 in. long: fls. solitary, on long pedicels, orange-yellow: fr. nearly globose, blackish purple. May. Chile to Strait of Magellan.—A very graceful, free-flowering shrub; one of the hardiest of the evergreen species; will stand the winter even N. if somewhat protected.

The above text is from the Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture. It may be out of date, but still contains valuable and interesting information which can be incorporated into the remainder of the article. Click on "Collapse" in the header to hide this text.



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