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Berberis holstii (Berberis holstii)


Berberis holstii is hairless evergreen shrub of 1–3 m high, with reddish or brownish young shoots, that later develop dark grey bark. At the base of the short side shoots, that carry leaves and flowers, are 1–4 cm long spines with three (to five) branches. The leaves appear simple, but there are two short hairlike leaflets at the base. The large top leaflet is stiff and leathery, and mostly measures 2–3 cm in length, is generally inverted egg-shaped and may have a few spiny teeth along the margin and one at the tip. The typical yellow barberry flowers are in few flowered panicles 2½–7½ cm long. The three inner sepals are 6–7 mm long and rounded at their tip. The six petals are 4½–6 mm long and inverted egg-shaped. Like the flowers in many other Berberis-species, they contain stamens that respond to touch by rapidly moving upwards and inwards, to promote delivering pollen on the body of a visiting insect. The flowers will develop into long oval berries which retain the stigma, and are initially frosted green, turn to a frosted deep purple when ripe, and contain one to four seeds. In Malawi, flowers are present in October and November, while the berries are ripe in May and June

Taxonomic tree

  • Domain: Eukarya

    • Kingdom: Plantae

      • Phylum:

        • Class: Magnoliopsida

          • Order: Ranunculales

            • Family: Berberidaceae

              • Genus: Berberis