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A low, deciduous bush, usually 11⁄2 to 2 ft high, with short, twiggy branches; young shoots glabrous, or minutely downy, angled; spines with three or five, sometimes nine or eleven, prongs, each 1⁄5 to 2⁄5 in. long, slender. Leaves produced in dense rosettes; small, obovate, 1⁄2 to 1 in. long, thin, with teeth directed outwards, and proportionately large. Flowers solitary, rarely in pairs, 1⁄2 in. across, bright yellow, drooping. Fruit dark red, obovoid, about 1⁄3 in. long.
Native of Siberia and Mongolia, where it grows in crevices of rocks and similar places. Resembling B. aetnensis in habit, it differs in its solitary flowers and much-divided spines. Pallas, the Russian traveller and naturalist, who introduced this shrub to cultivation in 1790, states that in Mongolia a decoction of the twigs is applied to the eyes as a charm, which recalls the virtues ascribed to B. lycium in eye affections by the natives of N. India.