Ruscus aculeatus

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Ruscus aculeatus2.jpg
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Asparagaceae
Subfamily: Nolinoideae
Genus: Ruscus
Species: R. aculeatus
Binomial name
Ruscus aculeatus

Ruscus aculeatus, known as butcher's-broom,[1] is a low evergreen Eurasian shrub, with flat shoots known as cladodes that give the appearance of stiff, spine-tipped leaves. Small greenish flowers appear in spring, and are borne singly in the centre of the cladodes. The female flowers are followed by a red berry, and the seeds are bird-distributed, but the plant also spreads vegetatively by means of rhizomes. Ruscus aculeatus occurs in woodlands and hedgerows, where it is tolerant of deep shade, and also on coastal cliffs. It is also widely planted in gardens, and has spread as a garden escapee in many areas outside its native range.

Ruscus aculeatus with fruit
Botanical illustration

Common names[edit]

  • Butcher's-Broom
  • Kneeholy, Knee Holly, Kneeholm
  • Jew's Myrtle
  • Sweet Broom
  • Pettigree
  • Λαγομηλιά (Lagomiliá): Hare's apple (in Greek)
  • Le Fragon: The butcher (in French)
  • Pungitopo: Mouse stinger (in Italian)


Cultivars include:

  • 'Christmas Berry'[2]


  1. ^ "BSBI List 2007" (xls). Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Retrieved 2014-10-17. 
  2. ^ Gys Petrus de Jong, Ruscus plant named 'Christmas Berry' US PP16680 P2, retrieved 20 July 2016 

External links[edit]