Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. The principal genus of the natural order Berberidaceæ, including the common barberry. It contains about 50 species of shrubby plants, mostly American, and ranging from Oregon to Tierra del Fuego. The common barberry, B. vulgaris, the only European species and extensively naturalized in the United States, is well known for its red acid berries, which make a pleasant preserve. The leaves also are acid, and the bark and root, as in many other species, are astringent and yield a yellow dye. The bark of the root of this and of several Asiatic species, as B. Lycium, B. Asiatica, and B. aristata, is used as a bitter tonic and for the extraction of berberine (which see). Some of the Mahonia group of species, distinguished by pinnate evergreen leaves, and including the Oregon grape of the Pacific coast, B. Aquifolium, are frequently cultivated for ornament. The stamens in this genus are curiously irritable, springing forward upon the pistil when the inner side of the filament is touched.
- n. large genus of shrubs of temperate zones of New and Old Worlds
“The yew topiary, the drifts of narcissi, the berberis darwiniae, the clumps of brilliant orange monbretia, all thrive.”
“At last we found ourselves in a high, rocky valley full of wild apples and almonds, dog-roses and berberis bushes, with the great snow-covered peak of Balbash-Ata and its neighbouring mountains rising behind it.”
“As we climbed higher up the valley, and clambered up its steep wall, Zakir pointed out how the trees grew naturally in distinct bands according to altitude: walnuts further down the valley, Turkestan birch and maple by the river banks higher up, wild roses, honeysuckle and berberis on the valley floor and its margins along the rising walls.”
“The valley walls and the open wood pasture we walked through were full of wild cherries, dog-roses, the Kyrgyz wild apple, cotoneaster bushes, wild Sogdian plum trees and berberis, whose seven or eight different varieties provide an important crop of wild berries, traditionally consumed by the Kyrgyz people for their high content of Vitamin C.”
“My back lawn ha ha is full of feral raspberries and I have a berberis the size of a small oak tree under my window.”
“A short cut, which we took up the hill face, led us through a rough scrub of berberis and wild daphne (the former just showing green and the latter in flower) until, somewhat scant of breath, we regained the road, and followed it to the left up a gorge.”
“East of the house was a long lawn, secluded from the open Park by a beautiful, wildly growing hedge of gorse, berberis, bramble, hawthorn, and wild roses.”
“In the garden of the Freelands 'old house was a nook shut away by berberis and rhododendrons, where some bees were supposed to make honey, but, knowing its destination, and belonging to a union, made no more than they were obliged.”
“As he spoke a blackbird came running with a chuckle from underneath the berberis, looked at them with alarm, and ran back.”
“She had prepared a long succession of eulogistic comments on the wonders of her town garden, with its unrivalled effects of horticultural magnificence, and, behold, her theme was shut in on every side by the luxuriant hedge of Siberian berberis that formed a glowing background to Elinor's bewildering fragment of fairyland.”
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