Ruscus Cultivars

There is only one cultivar of note and that is Ruscus aculeatus ‘Lanceolatus’, where the cladodes are very narrow, usually 5 times longer than wide, sometimes narrower than the open flower and generally longer than R. aculeatus var. angustifolius. See my article in The New Plantsman, Ruscus aculeatus ‘Lanceolatus’, (2001) 8:4 (239-243) for full details. It is female but will be pollinated by any male or hermaphrodite plant, producing the distinctive red fruit.

Other plants are grown that are hermaphrodite, they have both sexes on the same plant. The Plant Finder has numerous sources for hermaphrodite plants. Ruscus aculeatus ‘Wheeler’s Variety’ is a named cultivar. I received mine from Plant Delights Nursery, Raleigh, NC, USA and it sometimes has stems weighed down with fruit. Others are R. aculeatus ‘John Redmond’ and ‘Christmas Berry’. The former is described by one British nursery as “possibly of hybrid origin”; this is highly unlikely. Both appear to be dwarf hermaphrodites due to small intercladode lengths.

Cultivars need to be propagated by division to maintain particular characteristics and for the resultant plants to legally bear the cultivar name. Seed can be sown from any of the hermaphrodite plants, named or not and then distributed as “hermaphrodite”.

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