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A glabrous, evergreen shrub, often 2 to 4 ft high and of stiff habit, but sometimes up to 8 ft. Leaves oblong-oval, up to 6 in. long and 21⁄2 in. wide, very stiff and leathery, the margins formidably set with triangular spines up to 3⁄8 in. long, dark green above, brilliantly silvery-white beneath. Flowers pale yellow, 3⁄8 in. across, up to fifteen crowded in stalkless axillary clusters; individual stalks 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 in. long. Fruit blue-purple, of the ordinary elliptical barberry shape, 3⁄8 in. long, pendent below the branches on their short stalks.
Native of Upper Burma, discovered and introduced by Kingdon Ward in 1926, and given an Award of Merit in June 1932. Its foliage is most striking, especially in size and in the vividly white under-surface. In a wild state it is said to grow best in shade along with rhododendrons, vacciniums, etc. It belongs to the Wallichianae section of the genus and got its Award as “B. hookeri glauca”. Kingdon Ward, who describes it as a ‘splendid shrub’, found it at altitudes of 9,000 to 10,000 ft. Unfortunately, it has proved to be a sparsely branched shrub, of ungainly habit.
The description of this species lacks an essential characteristic: the stems are without spines, the place of which is taken by normal leaves, as usually in B. insignis and B. incrassata.