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A low, sometimes prostrate, deciduous shrub; branches crooked, formidably armed with three-forked spines, each fork 1⁄2 to 7⁄8 in. long. Leaves small, obovate, pointed, averaging 1⁄2 in. in length, mostly without teeth, sometimes slightly toothed. Flowers yellow, in short, few-flowered clusters. Berries globose, nearly black, with a bloom.
Native of the mountains of Crete and other islands of the Mediterranean. The leaves, spines, and flowers form a dense, crowded mass along the branches. It was introduced in 1703 but has always been rare in gardens.
According to Flora of Turkey, Vol. 1, p. 210, this species has also been found in south-west Anatolia. Its easternmost limit is in Cyprus, but B. libanotica from Syria and the Lebanon is probably not specifically distinct from B. cretica.