Synonyms: Mahonia APNI*
Description: Evergreen or deciduous shrubs; with or without spines.
Leaves usually 1-foliolate, though apparently simple, or articulated and imparipinnate, borne on short [or long] shoots; leaves of main stems often reduced to spines, commonly deeply divided into 3 or more terete spines or >3 spinose teeeth.
Inflorescence usually racemes terminating lateral shoots or a panicle [or flowers solitary].
Berry ovoid or obovoid or globose, topped by persistent stigma; infructescence reflexed.
Distribution and occurrence: World: over 500 spp., N & S Amer., Eurasia, N Afr. Australia: 5 spp. (naturalised), N.S.W., Vic., Tas., S.A. Includes widely cultivated species.
The spines occurring on the stems of many species of Berberis are highly modified leaves.
Text by adapted from G.J. Harden, Flora of NSW 1 (1990); updated April 2017, P.G. Kodela
Taxon concept: Australian Plant Census (accessed April 2017)
| ||Key to the species|| |
|1||Stems without spines; leaves 1-pinnate, >10 cm long||Berberis aquifolium|
|Stems with spines; leaves apparently simple, <7 cm long||2|
|2||Spines on stems mostly simple (occasionally 3-fid) and single in nodes; leaves entire||Berberis thunbergii|
|Spines on stems usually deeply divided into 3 (rarely undivided) or stem leaves reduced to spinose teeth and usually more than 3; leaves usually toothed|
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|3||Stem leaves reduced to spinose teeth, usually more than 3, 5–10 mm long; leaves less than 2 cm long, more or less hexagonal, apex spinose, each margin with 2 spinose teeth or rarely only 1||Berberis darwinii|
|Spines on stems usually deeply divided into 3, rarely undivided, each 8–30 mm long; leaves more than 2 cm long, obovate to elliptic, apex acute or obtuse, entire or with few to numerous marginal teeth|
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|4||Evergreen plant; leaves irregularly toothed, margins with few to several pairs of teeth; fruit more or less globose, red to black, style 1–2 mm long||Berberis floribunda|
|Deciduous plant; leaves regularly toothed with numerous fine teeth; fruit more or less oblong, red, stigma more or less sessile|
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