EDITOR – The photograph and description of the berries supplied by Barbara Dodds from South Elkington (Leader December 7) suggest that the plant in question may very well be Berberis darwinii, commonly called barberry, which is dangerously prickly and produces masses of orangey-yellow flowers in April.
These later mature into dark blue or purplish coloured berries.
I have a Berberis darwinnii bush in my garden. It needs to be kept in trim, otherwise it can grow as big as a small tree.
When it flowers it’s a beautiful sight.
Besides Berberis darwinii, which is named after famous naturalist Charles Darwin, several other species of berberis are grown in English gardens. As far as I’m aware, Berberis darwinii is the only species that can be found growing wild in the UK, although another non-woody, introduced member of the Berberaceae, Epimedium alpinum, can be found growing wild in a few places.
Jubilee Road, North Somercotes