Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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Spiny shrubs; wood yellow; stems terete, angled or sulcate, usually spiny; spines 3 - 5-fid (modified leaves); shoots long and short. Leaves simple, but usually with a joint at the junction of blade and petiole, in fascicles or whorls, each of which is attached at a node and protected by spines, the long shoots have their leaves metamorphosed into spines, with the transitions often conspicuous; the short shoots in the axils of spines bear clusters of green leaves. Flowers yellow, bisexual, fascicled, racemed or solitary. Sepals 6 - 12, imbricate in 2 - 4 whorls, with 2 - 3 appressed bracts. Petals 6, imbricate in 2 series, usually with 2 basal glands inside. Stamens 6 or 3; anther-locules opening by recurved valves. Ovary simple; stigma peltate, sessile or on a short style; ovules few, basal, erect. Berry few-seeded.

India, Pakistan, W. & C. Asia, China, Japan, S.E. Asia and E. Africa; ca 450 species, 54 species in India.

Literature. AHRENDT, L. W. A. (1941 - 45) A survey of the genus Berberis L in Asia· New and old species from Bhutan, Assam, southern Tibet, Upper Burma and N. W. Yunnan in their relationship to the analytical framework of the genus. J. Bot. suppl. 79: 1 - 116. CHATTERJEE, R. (1949) The Rasanjana of the Hindus. Lloydia 12: 178 182 (The medicinal uses of Berberis). SCHNEIDER, C. K. (1905) Die Gattung Berberis (Euberberis). Mitt. Deutsch. Dendr. Ges. 14: 111 - 124. SCHNEIDER, C. K. (1942) Die Berberis der Section Wallichianeae. Mitt. Deutsch. Dendr. Ges. 55: 1 - 60.


1a. Evergreen shrubs 2
b. Usually deciduous shrubs 4
2a. Fruits red or red purple 5. TINCTORIAE
b. Fruits black, often pruinosc 3
3a. Flowers racemose-umbellate, rarely panicled 2. ASIATICAE
b. Flowers fascicled 8. WALLICHIANAE
4a. Flowers large, 14 - 20 mm in diam. 1. ANGULOSAE
b. Flowers usually 4 - 12 mm in diam. 5
5a. Inflorescence 15 - 30 -flowered 7. VULGARIS
b. Inflorescence 2 - 10-flowered 6
6a. Berries usually pink or red 4. POLYANTHEAE
b. Berries usually black, sometimes blue or white 7
7a. Leaves fairly broad, usually entire 3. HETEROPODAE
b. Leaves linear with 1 - 5 spinules at margins 6. ULICINAE

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