Berberis prattii Schneid.

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Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles

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'Berberis prattii' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online ( Accessed 2024-05-29.


  • B. aggregata var. prattii (Schneid.) Schneid.

Other taxa in genus


(pl. apices) Tip. apical At the apex.
With an unbroken margin.
Lacking hairs smooth. glabrescent Becoming hairless.
Loose or open.
A much-branched inflorescence. paniculate Having the form of a panicle.
Generally an elongated structure arising from the ovary bearing the stigma at its tip.
(var.) Taxonomic rank (varietas) grouping variants of a species with relatively minor differentiation in a few characters but occurring as recognisable populations. Often loosely used for rare minor variants more usefully ranked as forms.


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Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles

Recommended citation
'Berberis prattii' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online ( Accessed 2024-05-29.

A deciduous shrub to 10 ft high; stems reddish and downy when young, pale yellow and nearly glabrous at maturity. Spines rather thin, single to three-parted, about 12 in. long. Leaves in clusters of up to ten, 25 to 114 in. long, obovate to oblong, rounded at the apex, tapered at the base into a short stalk, rather glossy green above, greyish beneath, margins entire or with a few spiny teeth. Flowers small, borne at midsummer in a many-flowered erect panicle up to 10 in. long. Berries egg-shaped, bright pink, about 14 in. long, with a short style. Bot. Mag., n.s., t. 286.

Native of China, in cultivation from seed collected by Wilson in W. Szechwan. It has been regarded as a variety of B. aggregata, from which it differs in its greater size and longer inflorescences. For a long time it was grown erroneously as B. polyantha (see below). It is a very fine species, remarkable for its large and abundant flower panicles. A particularly striking form was shown by E. H. M. Cox of Glendoick, Perthshire, in the autumn of 1953, when it received an Award of Merit. This plant is referred by Dr Ahrendt to var. laxipendula with which it agrees in its lax panicles and fruits larger than in the type, but, in fruit, the panicles are 6 to 12 in. in length. Mr Cox tells us: ‘It comes into flower very late for a berberis, August, and the fruit does not colour before November. The best point, however, is the length of time the fruit hangs, till the end of January or early February; it is never touched by birds, however hard the weather. Our plants are from the original collection and are now 10 ft tall and about the same through, with very arching branches.’

B polyantha Hemsl

A semi-evergreen shrub 10 to 14 ft high, related to B. prattii, from which it differs in its dark red very narrowly ovoid fruits. It appears to be confined in a natural state to the region around Tatsienlu (Kangting) in W. Szechwan. It is also very rare in cultivation, the plants once grown under the name being B. prattii, but the true species is figured in Bot. Mag., n.s., t. 236, from a plant growing at Maidwell Hall, Northants. The origin of the confusion between these two species is explained by Mr Sealy in the note accompanying this plate.

var. laxipendula Ahrendt

Panicles somewhat pendulous, up to 4 in. long, usually less, and proportionately broader than in the type, and looser. Berries a little larger, with a longer style. Described from a plant growing at Kew, raised from Wilson 3152. Dr Ahrendt refers the A.M. plant (see above) to this variety.

var. recurvata Schneid

This has the same garden value as the typical form, from which it differs only in its curved fruit stalks.