Ruscus hypoglossum is a small evergreen shrub with a native range from Italy north to Austria and Slovakia and east to Turkey and Crimea. Common names include spineless butcher's-broom, mouse thorn and horse tongue lily. The laurel crown of Caesar was made of Ruscus hypoglossum. The species name comes from two Greek words hypo and glossus meaning under and tongue.
The mature plant shrub will eventually reach about 46 cm (18 in) in height. It has a creeping rootstock and leaf-like phylloclades or flattened stems that are about 8 cm (3 in) wide to 4 cm (1 1⁄2 in) wide tapering at both ends. True leaves are smaller green appendages around the flowers. Small yellow flowers bloom in the axil of a leaf-like bract 2.5–3.8 cm (1–1.5 in) long on upper side of phylloclade. Fruit is a rarely produced red globose berry 0.6 to 1.3 cm (0.25 to 0.5 in) wide.
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- "Ruscus hypoglossum". University of Connecticut - Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Plant Growth Facilities. Retrieved 19 March 2012.