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A deciduous shrub 4 ft or more high, with erect, grooved branchlets covered when young with a short, dark down. Leaves dark glossy green, clustered in the axils of stiff spines, which are sometimes single, but usually three- or five-branched, and up to 1⁄2 in. long; the leaves are obovate, or narrowly wedge-shaped, 1 to 11⁄2 in. long, leathery, narrowing at the base to a very short stalk or none at all, the apex either rounded or pointed, often terminating in a short tooth; the slightly curled back margins are either entire, or have one to three spiny teeth at each side. Flowers solitary, on downy stalks 1⁄2 to 1 in. long, or on short two- to four-flowered racemes; orange-yellow, globose, 1⁄2 to 2⁄3 in. across; outer sepals narrow oblong, inner ones twice as wide; petals obovate. Fruit elliptical, 2⁄3 in. long, scarlet. Bot. Mag., t. 7071.
Native of N. India; first discovered in Kumaon early in the nineteenth century, and in 1849 by Hooker in the Sikkim-Himalaya, at 11,000 to 13,000 ft. It is absolutely hardy at Kew, and although not one of the showiest barberries, is noteworthy for its unusually large flowers and berries. The latter are eatable, and, being less acid, are more palatable than most barberries.
† B. ludlowii Ahrendt – This species, like B. capillaris and B. parisepala, is very closely allied to B. angulosa, differing only in being taller, with leaves greyish beneath, glabrous pedicels and fruits which are narrowly ellipsoid (broadly so in B. angulosa). It was described from specimens collected by Ludlow, Sherriff and Taylor in south-east Tibet in 1938 and introduced by them. Dr Ahrendt considered that B. capillaris is only a variety of B. ludlowii.
B. ludlowii var. capillaris (Ahrendt) Ahrendt