A strong-growing, vigorous evergreen shrub 12 ft or more high, branchlets very minutely downy, somewhat furrowed, yellowish. Leaves hard and leathery, l1⁄2 to 31⁄2 in. long, obovate, or sometimes nearly orbicular, tipped with a spiny tooth, the margin often entire, sometimes set with a few large, sharp teeth, dark green above, whitish beneath. Flowers yellow, in short corymbose racemes. Berries egg-shaped or nearly globular, red, then black covered with purplish bloom.
Native of the Himalaya; first introduced early in the nineteenth century, but still very rare. It is only suitable for Cornwall and similarly mild localities, and even there is sometimes affected by cold. It lived at Kew for a good many years on a sunny wall. It has been confused with other barberries and in particular with B. glaucocarpa, but the true species is well distinguished by the combination of rigid leaves, always white beneath, and a short inflorescence taking the form of a corymbose raceme.