Berberis waziristanica Ahrendt
Shrub, 1-2 m tall, glabrous; stems red-brown to pale-brown, sulcate; internodes usually 1-2 cm long; spines usually 3-fid, 1-2 cm long. Leaves very variable, oblanceolate to oblong-obovate, 10-35 mm long, (2-) 4-12 mm broad, sessile to subsessile (petiole sometimes up to 5 mm long), mostly entire, rarely 1-4-spinose-serrulate, green, rarely somewhat whitish beneath, epapillose, conspicuously to faintly veined, often reticulate, coriaceous to flexible, acute to subobtuse, usually minutely spine-tipped at apex. Racemes (2-)5-10-flowered, subfascicled or racemose-fascicled, 1-3 cm long, often somewhat reflexed in fruit, including 1-10 mm long peduncle. Flowers 6-8 mm across, yellow; pedicels 5-12 mm long, glabrous. Outer sepals c. 4 mm long, 2(-2.5) mm broad; inner sepals c. 6 mm long, 4(-4.5) mm broad. Petals 5.5 (-6) mm long, 3 mm broad, obovate. Stamens c. 4 mm long with truncate apices. Ovules 2. Berries globose-ovoid to somewhat obovoid, black, pruinose to subpruinose whitish, (5-)6-8(-9) mm long, 4-5(-6) mm broad, including 1-1.5 mm long, conspicuous style; seeds 2, 3-5 mm long, 2-2.5 mm broad.
Fl. Per.: April June.
Type: Afghanistan, Kurrum valley, between Sergal and Sikaram, 8000-10000 ft., 4. VI. 1879, Aitchison 490 (K).
Distribution: Afghanistan and Pakistan, rare in Kashmir.
A very variable species of the arid hills of our area, especially in leaf texture and venation. Narrowness, texture and venation of leaves do not seem to be constant and reliable taxonomic characters. Berberis waziristanica Ahrendt and Berberis gambleana Ahrendt, are said to have narrower leaves than the Berberis calliobotrys Aitch. ex Koehne (s.str.), but this does not hold good, as the variation is continuous, i e. breadth length ratio being 1:2-4 (-5); the same is the case with texture, flexibility and venation. These would hardly justify even an infra-specific status under this species. Ahrendt’s (l.c. 224) key separating these 2 species is also confused, and does not tally with the descriptions.
Leaves are said to be a cure for jaundice.