Ruscus aculeatus 'Wheeler's Variety'

Common Name:
Butcher's broom
Plant Type:
Evergreen perennial
Liliaceae (The Lily Family)
Geographic Origin:
Mediterranean Region
California Native?:
Plant Size:
2 feet
Landscape/Garden Uses:
shade gardens
Flowering Season:
Flower Color:
Light shade
Most soils
Suggested Irrigation:
Moderate to little watering
Estimated Hardiness:
Hardy to 0 degrees F. or less
Ruscus is a nearly forgotten genus of the lily family, once rather widely used as small scale ground covers for dry shade. They form small thickets by means of underground rhizomes. Individual stems are usually branched and lined by stiff, pointed cladodes, short modified stems that resemble leaves. Small white blossoms are borne along the midribs of these cladodes, normally with "male" and "female" flowers on different plants. Where plants of both sexes are present, small red berries are produced. 'Wheeler's Variety' is self-fertile and produces an amazing crop of bright red berries, a little less than a half inch in diameter. Ruscus are some of the best ground covers for use under oaks, as little or no summer watering is required once the plants are established. However, they also tolerate normal garden treatment.