An evergreen (or, at Kew, partly deciduous) shrub of erect, slender shape; young shoots finely downy, afterwards warted. Leaves quite glabrous, linear-oblanceolate, 1⁄12 to 1⁄6 in. wide, 1⁄2 to 11⁄4 in. long; usually quite toothless, dark green, turning purplish in winter. Flowers yellowish, 1⁄4 in. wide, the five petals recurved, solitary or in pairs, produced from the leaf-axils. Anthers five, almost stalkless, arranged on the inner wall of a staminal tube, which narrows towards, and is fringed at, the top. Calyx 1⁄12 in. long, with five ovate lobes, green. Fruit a fleshy berry, globose, 1⁄3 in. long, white with purple markings.
Native of Tasmania, South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales, and of New Zealand. In Tasmania it grows on the summits of the Western Mountains at 3,000 to 4,000 ft altitude. In New Zealand it occurs in both islands at comparatively low elevations in river beds and along forest margins, its place being taken at high altitudes by H. alpina. The flowers in New Zealand plants are said to be unisexual, though male and female may occur on the same plant; in Tasmania they are more commonly hermaphrodite (Allan, Ft. N.Z., p. 196, and Curtis, St. Fl. Tasm., part 1, p. 53). It is quite hardy at Kew, where there are two plants in the Berberis Dell.
H. dentata DC. – This species, of which H. angustifolia has been considered a variety, differs in its much larger conspicuously toothed leaves. Native of Victoria and New South Wales.
H. alpina (Kirk) W. R. B. Oliver H. dentata var. alpina Kirk – In its typical state this species differs markedly from H. angustifolia by its dwarf habit and thick, rigid branchlets, which are often spine-tipped, but intermediates between it and H. angustifolia are said to occur. It is found in open rocky places in the mountains.