Shrubs or herbs. Stamens opposite the petals, and the same number as them. Ovary of I carpel, with seeds attached to the bottom or to one side of the cavity. A small family spread over the temperate regions and tropical mountains of the globe.

Epimedium L

Sepals, petals and stamens 4 each; flowers in a very loose raceme.

Epimedium Alpinum L

Rootstock rampant. Stem erect, 1-1 1/2 feet. Root-leaves scaly; stem-leaves biternate; leaflets petioled, oval, heart-shaped at the base, with aristate teeth. Flowers in a loose panicle, hairy-glandular, yellow, with blood-red centre.

Groves and thickets. April, May. Occasionally seen in parts of Switzerland, but, as in Britain, sub-spontaneous and an escape from gardens. Not found in France.


Tyrol, Carniola, South and S.E. of Europe.

Berberis L. Barberry

Shrubs, with usually prickly leaves. Sepals 8 or 9, yellow, outer sepals minute. Petals 6, in 2 series, with honeyed glands at the base. Stamens 6. Fruit a berry. A genus of numerous species indigenous chiefly in Asia and America. Many exotic species are cultivated in English gardens; some, belonging to a section with pinnate leaves, are occasionally classed as a genus called Mahonia.

Berberis Vulgaris L. Common Barberry

A glabrous shrub with yellow wood, 6 or 8 feet in height, the branches armed with 3-lobed thorns at the base of the tufts of leaves. Leaves alternate or clustered, obovate, sharply toothed. Flowers yellow, in elegant drooping racemes. Berries small, oblong, acid, green, and then yellow, and finally bright red.

Hedges, open woods and hillsides from the plains up to 5000 feet, the colouring of the berries in early autumn being a beautiful sight. The flowers appear in May and June.


Nearly all Europe, and extending from temperate Asia to the Himalaya. But it has been so frequently planted that in Europe its real limits cannot easily be determined. In Britain it is scattered, but doubtfully indigenous.

Berberis Cetnensis Roem. Et Schult

A smaller shrub, much branched and usually decumbent. Leaves ovate-oblong, stiff, very finely serrated at the edge. Thorns very strong, often longer than the leaves. Flowers in short clusters. Berries bluish black when ripe.


Mountains of Corsica, Sardinia, and Sicily, flowering in May and June.