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(This whole page is a poor attempt of translation of the Illustrated Handbook for Medicinal Materials from Nature in Yunnan, mistakes are and will be made, sorry)

Sankezhen - Berberis pruinosa Franch.

Chinese name

三颗针 sān kē zhēn

Other names

Latin name

Berberis pruinosa Franch.


Credit : David E. Boufford

Description from Flora of China

Shrubs, evergreen, 1-2 m tall. Branches brownish gray or brownish yellow, terete, black verruculose; spines 3-fid, concolorous, 2-3.3 cm, stout, adaxially sulcate or flat. Leaves subsessile; leaf blade adaxially shiny, yellow-green or grayish green, elliptic to obovate, 2-6 × 1-2.5 cm, rigidly leathery, abaxially pruinose or not, midvein obviously raised, lateral veins indistinct, adaxially with flat midvein, lateral veins slightly raised, both surfaces with indistinct reticulate veins, base cuneate, margin slightly revolute or flat, usually coarsely 1-6-aristate-dentate on each side, occasionally entire or 3-5-spinose-serrate on each side, apex obtuse or shortly acuminate. Flowers (8-)10-20-fascicled. Pedicels 1-2 cm, slender; bractlets lanceolate, ca. 2 mm, apex acuminate. Sepals in 2 whorls; outer sepals oblong-elliptic, ca. 4 × 2 mm, apex obtuse, rounded; inner sepals obovate, ca. 6.5 × 5 mm, apex rounded. Petals obovate, ca. 7 × 4-5 mm, base clawed, with completely basal glands, apex deeply incised or entire. Stamens ca. 6 mm; anther connective not prolonged, rounded-truncate. Ovules 2 or 3. Berry ellipsoid or subglobose, 6-7 × 4-5 mm, densely white pruinose, style not persistent; seeds 2. Fl. Mar-Apr, fr. Jun-Aug.


Thickets, forests, forest margins, roadsides; 1800-4000 m. Guizhou, Sichuan, Xizang, Yunnan.

Used parts



Medicinal use