BERBERIS AQUIFOLIUM (_syn Mahonia Aquifolium_).--Holly-leaved
Barberry. North America, 1823. 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.
B. AQUIFOLIUM REPENS (_syn Mahonia 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.
B. ARISTATA, a 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.
B. BEALEI (_syn Mahonia Bealli_).--Japan. 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.
B. BUXIFOLIA (_syn B. dulcis_ and _B. microphylla_).--Straits of
Magellan, 1827. 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.
B. CONGESTIFLORA, from Chili, is 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.
B. DARWINII.--Chili, 1849. This is, perhaps, the best known and most
ornamental of the family. It forms a dense bush, sometimes 10 feet
high, with dark glossy leaves, and dense racemes of orange-yellow
flowers, produced in April and May, and often again in the autumn.
B. EMPETRIFOLIA.--Straits of Magellan, 1827. This is a neat-habited
and dwarf evergreen species, that even under the best cultivation
rarely exceeds 2 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.
B. FORTUNEI (_syn Mahonia Fortunei_).--China, 1846. This is rather a
rare species in cultivation, with finely toothed leaves, composed of
about seven leaflets, and bearing in abundance clustered racemes of
individually small yellow flowers. A native of China, and requiring a
warm, sunny spot to do it justice.
B. GRACILIS (_syn Mahonia gracilis_).--Mexico. A pretty, half-hardy
species, growing about 6 feet high, with slender branches, and
shining-green leaves with bright red stalks. Flowers small, in 3-inch
long racemes, deep yellow with bright red pedicels. Fruit globular,
B. ILICIFOLIA (_syn B. Neumanii_).--South America, 1791. 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.
B. JAPONICA (_syn Mahonia japonica_).--Japan. 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
B. NEPALENSIS (_syn Mahonia nepalensis_).--Nepaul Barberry. This is a
noble Himalayan species that one rarely sees in good condition in this
country, unless when protected by glass. The long, chalky-white stems,
often rising to 8 feet in height, are surmounted by dense clusters of
lemon-yellow flowers. Planted outdoors, this handsome and partly
evergreen Barberry must have the protection of a wall.
B. NERVOSA (_syn Mahonia glumacea_).--North America, 1804. 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.
B. PINNATA (_syn Mahonia facicularis_).--A native of Mexico, this
species is of stout growth, with long leaves, that are thickly
furnished with sharp spines. The yellow flowers are produced
abundantly, and being in large bunches render the plant very
conspicuous. It is, unfortunately, not very hardy, and requires wall
protection to do it justice.
B. SINENSIS.--China, 1815. 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.
B. STENOPHYLLA, a hybrid between B. Darwinii and B. empetrifolia, is
one of the handsomest forms in cultivation, the wealth of
golden-yellow flowers being remarkable, as is also the dark purple
berries. It is very hardy, and of the freest growth.
B. TRIFOLIOLATA (_syn Mahonia trifoliolata_).--Mexico, 1839. 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 2 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.
B. TRIFURCA (_syn Mahonia trifurca_).--China, 1852. This is a shrub of
neat low growth, but it does not appear to be at all plentiful.
B. 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 B. vulgaris fructo-albo and B. vulgaris
B. WALLICHIANA (_syn B. Hookeri_).--Nepaul, 1820. 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.