Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

JSP Page

Shrubs, often spiny, perennial or sometimes herbs, glabrous. Leaves alternate or tufted, simple or 1-pinnate, sometimes ternately compound or sometimes deeply lobed, coriaceous, usually spiny, exstipulate, rarely stipulate (in Epimedium); buds scaly. Flowers actinomorphic, bisexual, solitary or several to many in fascicles, umbels, racemose-umbels, spikes, cymes or panicles, usually yellow, sometimes greenish or White, rarely tinged with red. Sepals generally in 2 series or whorls of 3 each, imbricate, free, petal-like. Petals 6, hypogynous, caducous, 2 many-seriate, imbricate, with 2 oblong glands near base. Stamens 4 - 6 (-15), opposite to the petals, free or sometimes slightly adnate to petals; anthers basifixed, 2-loculed, opening by valves. Ovary consisting of one carpel, superior; ovules few to many, basal or superposed along ventral sutre, bitegmic, crassinucellar, anatropous; style terminal, short or absent; stigma dilated or conic or oblong, large. Fruit a berry, rarely a capsule dehiscing by a transverse slit, very rarely a nutlet, usually ellipsoid, oblong, ovoid or obovoid; pericarp sometimes disappearing before the seeds ripen. Seeds sometimes arillate, dark red, reddish purple, black or pale yellow, yellowish brown; embryo minute, roundish, linear or spathulate, straight; endosperm copious, fleshy or horny; cotyledons undifferentiated, sometimes thin, as broad or broader than radicle.

Sri Lanka, Pakistan, India, China, S.E. Asia to· Borneo, West and Central Asia, Europe, North Africa, Central America to South America and Paciftc Islands; 13 genera and ca 575 species, 3 genera and 68 species in India.

Literature. AHRENDT, L. W. A. (1961) Berberis and Mahonia - A taxonomic revision. J. Linn. Soc. Lond. (Bot.) 57: 1 - 410, ff, 1 - 67. CHATTERJEE, R. (1953) Studies on Indian Berberidaceae from botanical, chemical and pharmacological aspects. Rec. Bot. Surv. India 16(2): 1 - 86. DERMAN, H. (1931) Study of the chromosome numbers in two genera of Berberidaceae: Mahonia and Berberis. J. Arn. Arb. 12: 281 - 287. JAFFRI, S. M. H. (1975) Berberidaceae. In: A. West Pakistan 87: 1 - 31. KUMAZAWA, M. (1938) Systematic and phylogenetic consideration of the Ranunculaceae and Berberidaceae. Bot. Mag. Tokyo 52: 9 - 15. SINGH, V., JAIN, D. K. & M. SHARMA ( 1978) Leaf architecture in Berberidaceae and its bearing on the circumscription of the family. J. Indian Bot. Soc. 57: 272 - 280.

Notes. Bentham & Hooker treats the family Berberidaceae sensu lato including. Nandinaceae, Lardizabalaceae and Podophyllaceae in the order Ranales. Nandinaceae do not Occur in India, though Nandina domestica Thunb. a native of China and Japan in often cultivated in Assam gardens and elsewhere for its bright red berries. Lardizabalaceae and Podophyllaceae are treated as separate families in this work.


1a. Herbs; flowers usually white; ovules superposed along the ventral suture 2. Epimedium
b. Shrubs; flowers usually yellow; ovules erect, basal 2
2a. Stems usually spiny; leaves simple; sepals usually in two series or whorls 1. Berberis
b. Stems unarmed; leaves imparipinnate; sepals usually in three series 3. Mahonia

JSP Page
  • Search