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A deciduous shrub found in a wild state 6 to 9 ft high; young shoots purple, slightly angled, armed with single or triple spines, 1⁄3 to 11⁄4 in. long. Leaves in clusters of two to six; 1 to 21⁄4 in. long, 1⁄2 to 11⁄2 in. wide; mostly obovate, rounded at the apex except for a short spine, tapering at the base to a short stalk; they are of firm texture, entire or minutely and sparsely toothed, and very distinctly net-veined. Flowers yellow, 1⁄4 in. wide, produced in racemes 2 to 4 in. long, each flower on a stalk 1⁄4 in. or so long. Fruits globose, scarlet, 3⁄8 in. wide. Bot. Mag., t. 9298.
Native of Yunnan, China; discovered in 1913 by Forrest and introduced by him. This is a very handsome and distinct barberry which has succeeded exceptionally well in the light soil of the Wisley Garden. Fine sprays of fruit, hung thickly along the branches in pendulous clusters, bright red, and of the shape and size of red currants, were exhibited at the Royal Horticultural Hall from Wisley on 20th October 1925, and obtained an Award of Merit. The attractiveness of the berries is enhanced by their transparency. The foliage turns a good red before falling. The seed distributed from Wisley produced forms of unequal quality but a particularly fine one, known as ‘East Lodge’, was given an Award of Merit when shown by W. B. Cranfield of Enfield, Middlesex, in 1947.
The description given includes B. jamesiana var. leucocarpa (W. W. Sm.) Ahrendt (B. leucocarpa W. W. Sm.). The species varies in the width of its leaves, which may be entire or finely spine-toothed. In all its forms the berries are whitish when ripening, red and translucent when fully mature.