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An evergreen shrub of bushy habit 5 or 6 ft high, its branchlets stiff, glabrous, armed with slender, stiff triple spines 1⁄2 to 11⁄3 in. long. Leaves oblanceolate, tapering more gradually towards the base, often widest above the middle; 11⁄2 to 31⁄2 in. long, 1⁄4 to 5⁄8 in. wide; not wavy at the margins but set there with sharp, bristle-like spines; dark, rather glossy green above, paler beneath and very smooth, the veins scarcely visible. Flowers in clusters of usually six to twelve, sometimes more, 1⁄3 to 1⁄2 in. wide, yellow. Fruit described by Wilson as at first red, finally jet-black, without bloom. Bot. Mag., t. 8857.
Native of W. Szechwan, China; introduced in 1909. A vigorous evergreen and an excellent hedging plant. It has been confused with B. gagnepainii, but as seen growing side by side the two are very distinct. The latter differs from B. atrocarpa in its leaves being very wavy, duller, and broadest below the middle, the stems more clustered, erect, and less branched. When first introduced it was thought to be B. levis Franch., but this species has yet to be introduced.
In Chamberlain and Hu’s classification this species is grouped with B. julianae.