Gardening Magazine

Berberis Congestiflora

By Davis Landscape Architecture @DavisLandArch

Berberis congestiflora (30/12/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Berberis congestiflora (30/12/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Position: Full Sun to partial shade

Flowering period: Late spring

Soil: Moist, well drained

Eventual Height: 3m

Eventual Spread: 2m

Hardiness: 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b

Family: Berberidaceae

Berberis congestiflora is an evergreen spiny shrub with a bushy habit. Its dark green leaves are are elliptic to ovate with entire to spiny margins, up to 35mm long and 25mm broad. They are produced in clusters of 2 -6 on a dwarf shoot in the axial of each spine. Its fragrant yellow/ orange  flowers are up to 3mm long and are produced in short panicles of up to 25 flowers. Its dark blue fruit is a globose  berry and up to 6mm across.

Berberis congestifloracommonly known as Michay or Barberry, is native to the mountains of south Chile and Argentina.

The etymological root of the binomial name for Berberis is derived from the Arabic  برباريس, the Arabic name for Berberis. Congestiflora is derived from the Latin congestio meaning ‘ a mass’  and flora ‘the goddess of flowers’.

The landscape architect may find Berberis congestiflora useful as an effective informal evergreen impenetrable hedge. Once established this shrub is drought tolerant.

Berberis congestiflora Leaf (30/12/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Berberis congestiflora Leaf (30/12/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Ecologically, Berberis congestiflora flowers are attractive to pollinating insects. The fruit also attractive to birds and some mammals.

Berberis congestiflora prefers moist, fertile, well-drained soils. It tolerates most pH of soil.

Berberis congestiflora requires little maintenance.

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