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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 1⁄2 in. long. Leaves in clusters of up to ten, 2⁄5 to 11⁄4 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 1⁄4 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.’