Berberis darwinii

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 Berberis darwinii subsp. var.  
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Berberidaceae > Berberis darwinii var. , Hook.

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Berberis darwinii is a species of barberry, native to southern South America in southern Chile and adjacent southwestern Argentina. Common names include Darwin's Barberry and (Chilean Spanish) Michay.

It is an evergreen thorny shrub growing to 3-4 m tall, with dense branches from ground level. The leaves are small oval, 12-25 mm long and 5-12 mm broad, with a spiny margin; they are borne in clusters of 2-5 together, subtended by a three-branched spine 2-4 mm long. The flowers are orange, 4-5 mm long, produced in dense racemes 2-7 cm long in spring. The fruit is a small purple-black berry 4-7 mm diameter, ripening in summer.

It was discovered (for Western science) in South America in 1835 by Charles Darwin during the voyage of the 'Beagle'.

It is a popular garden and hedging shrub in the British Isles. The Royal Horticultural Society has given it its Award of Garden Merit. The fruit is edible, though very acidic.

Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

Berberis darwinii, Hook. Shrub, 1-3 ft.: branches brown, pubescent when young: Lvs. cuneate, obovate, spiny- toothed and usually 3-pointed at the apex, glossy dark green above, light green and lustrous beneath, ½-1 in. long: racemes 6-20-fld., longer than the Lvs., with the peduncle 2-4 in. long, pendulous; fls. orange-yellow, often reddish outside; style as long as the ovary: fr. dark purple. June; fr. Aug., Sept. Chile to Patagonia.

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 It may be out of date, but still contains valuable and interesting information which can be incorporated into the remainder of the article.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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