Berberis x hybrido-gagnepainii

4. Berberis xhybrido-gagnepainii J.V. Suringar (syn.: B. xwokingensis Ahrendt) (Hort.) – An exceptional escape from cultivation. A single young shrub (probably birdsown) was recorded in a reed stand (Phragmites australis) on a pond margin in Beerse (Abtsheide) in 2011.

Berberis xhybrido-gagnepainii is a complex hybrid of uncertain parentage (most likely B. gagnepainii x B. verruculosa Hemsl. et Wilson). Putative hybrids with the similar Berberis candidula (C.K. Schneider) C.K. Schneider are either accepted as a distinct nothotaxon (B. xchenaultii Ahrendt) or as a mere cultivar of B. xhybrido-gagnepainii (cv ‘Chenaultii’ or ‘Chenault’) (compare Chamberlain & Maxwell 1989, De Koning & al. 2000, Roloff & Bärtels 2006). In fact, Berberis candidula and B. verruculosa appear to be rather distinct species and are not closely related (Junsheng 2011). Yet it is unclear where the plant from Beerse exactly belongs; Berberis xhybrido-gagnepainii is therefore accepted here in a wide sense. Moreover, it is uncertain if this binomial is correctly applied by modern taxonomists. According to Ahrendt (1961) Berberis xhybridogagnepainii is distinguished from both B. candidula and B. verruculosa by having its leaves green and epruinose below!

Despite being very common in cultivation in Western Europe (Roloff & Bärtels 2006: “sehr häufig”) Berberis xhybridogagnepainii is only rarely reported as an escape (see for instance Grenfell 1988 for the British Isles).

The name Berberis xhybrido-gagnepainii is erroneously attributed to Ahrendt by most current authors.

Herbarium specimen

Beerse (Abtsheide), pond margin (in Phragmites stand), July 2011, R. Barendse Beerse (Abtsheide), pond margin (in Phragmites stand), July 2011, R. Barendse



Ahrendt L.W.A. (1961) Berberis and Mahonia. A taxonomic revision. J. Linn. Soc., Bot. 57: 1-410.

Chamberlain D.F. & Maxwell H.S. (1989) Berberis. In: Walters S.M. & al. (eds.), The European Garden Flora, vol. 3. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge: 373-389.

De Koning J., Van den Broek J.W., Van de Laar H.J. & Fortgens G. (2000) Nederlandse dendrologie (13e druk). H. Veenman & zonen, Ede: 585 p.

Grenfell A.L. (1988) Aliens and adventives. Mixed bag. BSBI News 50: 27-30.

Junsheng Y. (2011) Berberis. In: Wu Z.Y. & al. (eds.), Flora of China, vol. 19. Science Press, Beijing and Missouri Botanical Garden Press, St. Louis: 715-771. [available online at:]

Roloff A. & Bärtels A. (2006) Flora der Gehölze (2e Auflage). Ulmer, Stuttgart: 844 p.

Schneider C. (1942) Die Berberis der Section Wallichianae. Mitt. Deutsch. Dendrol. Ges. 55: 1-60.

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith