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2161 Views 3 Replies Last post: Jul 28, 2013 7:52 AM by MikeHardman RSS
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May 23, 2013 11:12 PM

Can anyone identify this small tree

I visited a local garden in Cornwall last week and the owner invited me to take some pictures of the trees / shrubs, he and I are baffled by this one.


The attached picture I hope gives all the information needed.


It is a small tree of about 8 to 10 feet in height.


Thank you,



  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 24, 2013 6:19 AM (in response to bassbandit)
    Re: Can anyone identify this small tree



    It has some characters reminiscent of Ruscus. eg. the broad spines (getting towards phylloclades) have tiny nodes part-way along. But I haven't found it in Ruscus, nor in its parent Nolinoideae.

    I'm looking forward to knowing...

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      • Currently Being Moderated
        Jul 28, 2013 7:52 AM (in response to bassbandit)
        Re: Can anyone identify this small tree



        Well done getting that far.

        I think you're right, but it might be difficult to get to a single species, partly because of variation (especially in C. spinosa).


        There's a useful series of photos of various species of C. here


        Therein, C. spinosa looks to have cladodes (photosynthetic stems) that are narrower than yours.

        Also, the species on that page seem to have cladodes that are either broader or narrower than yours.

        But that page does not include C. armata...


        I suspect some photos on the internet are mis-named, which confuses the picture of course.

        But I was getting the feeling that C. armata is the one, judging by photos such as this one



        However, C. armata is now considered a synonym of Colletia hystrix

        That list of synonyms also includes four varieties of V. spinosa.

        ...Which all goes to show how difficult Colletia is, taxonomically.

        (The full list of Colletia epithets shows dozens of synonyms and unresolved names, and only five accepted species.)


        If I were you, I'd call it Colletia aff. hystrix (meaning it shows affinity with C. hystrix, and by implication a degree of uncertainty).



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