Dye Barberry
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Dye Barberry
ative Photo: S. Jeevith
Common name: Dye Barberry
Botanical name: Berberis tinctoria    Family: Berberidaceae (Barberry family)

Dye Barberry is an evergreen, erect shrub, variable in size and form, often 1-2 m tall, in forests up to 4 m tall. Stems are furrowed, pale brown; wood very tough, bright yellow; spines 3-fid, 1.5-3 cm long. Leaves are obovate, entire, rarely with 1 or 2 spinules, blunt, mucronate, 1.5-3.5 x 0.7-1.3 cm, thick, purplish when young, papillose, dull above, powdery beneath; leaf-stalks 2-5 mm long. Flowers are borne in 10-20 flowered racemes or panicles, 3.5-5 cm long, yellow; flower-stalks 5-10 mm long, red. Prophylls about 1 x 0.5 mm. Outer sepals are obovate, pointed about 7 x 5 mm; the inner ovate or obovate, blunt, about 4 x 2.5 mm. Petals are obovate, about 6 x 4.5 mm, clawed; claws glandular at base. Stamens are about 5 mm long, short apiculate. Ovary is stipitate. Berries are spindle shaped, 9-10 x about 5 mm excluding 1-1.5 mm long dry style and large round stigma still attached, purplish red turning dark blue with glaucous bloom. Dye Barberry is found in India and China.
Medicinal uses: The roots of Dye Barberry are used for curing jaundice, and the leaf parts are used for the purpose of cancer treatment to some extent by the tribal and local people.

Identification credit: S. Jeevith Photographed in The Nilgiris, Tamil Nadu.

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