Flattened, leaflike branchesdo the work of leaves for theseOld World natives, bearing tinygreenish white flowers in thecenters of their upper surfaces.They are interesting in driedarrangements. If both male andfemale plants are present, orif you have a plant with maleand female flowers, bright red(sometimes yellow), marble-sizefruit follows flowers. Tolerantof dry shade, a wide variety ofsoils, and competition fromtree roots, these are valuablegroundcovers under trees. Theyspread widely by rhizomes.Plants are subject to chlorosisin the desert.Ruscus aculeatus
Native fromthe Mediterranean and Blackseas to the British Isles andthe Azores. To 1–4 ft. tall, withbranched stems. Spine-tipped“leaves” are 1–3 in. long, athird as wide, leathery, dull darkgreen.
Compact; to 16 in. high.Denser growth, rounder leaves,fewer flowers than species; maybe longer-lived.
Hascreamy gold variegation ongreen leaves.
Uprightgrowth reaches 6–8 ft., makingthis a good screen or background.Large blue flowers, goodfragranc...