Gorse Barberry
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Gorse Barberry
ative Photo: Thingnam Girija
Common name: Gorse Barberry • Ladakhi: ཁིཟེར་Khizer, ཀིརཨརིག་Kiraring
Botanical name: Berberis ulicina    Family: Berberidaceae (Barberry family)

Gorse Barberry is a small hairless shrub, 1-2 m tall, much branched and densely spiny with 5-10 mm long internodes and reddish-brown stems. Spines are 3-pronged, 1-1.5 cm long. Leaves are 5-1.5 mm long, 2-4 mm broad, linear-lanceshaped or very narrowly oblanceolate, often entire to 1-2-spinulose at the margin, green to somewhat glaucous, minutely spine-tipped. Flowers are borne in 3-6-flowered, fascicled clusters hardly or not exceeding the leaves. Flowers are 5 mm in diameter, orange-yellow. Flower-stalks are very short, 2-4 mm long. Petals are slightly shorter than the inner sepals, 4-5 mm long, 2-3 mm broad, emarginate. Stamens are 3-3.5 mm long. Ovules 3-5. Berries are spherical to ovoid, 4-6 mm long, blue to blackish. Gorse Barberry is found on dry rocks in the Himalayas, in Kashmir, Ladakh and Tibet, at altitudes of 2500-3700 m. Flowering: June-July.
Medicinal uses: Gorse Barberry is used in Jammu, Kashmir, and Ladakh to remedy ringworm, as tonic, for throat problems, diarrhea, intestinal ulcers, lung diseases, eye problems, piles, as tonic, for bloody vomit, and lung diseases.

Identification credit: Tabish Photographed in Nubra Valley, Ladakh.

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