Table 3: Comparative botanical analysis of the stems of four Berberis species.

CharactersBerberis aristata Berberis asiatica Berberis chitria Berberis lycium

MacroscopicOuter surface of bark, creamish brown, inner surface yellowish brown, knotty, thin, and brittle.
Cut surface light yellow.
Fracture hard and bitter in taste
Outer surface of bark grayish brown and friable, fine longitudinal ridges and small warts, inner surface dark brown.
Fine longitudinal ridges and small warts below the bark surface leaving dark brown.
Cut surface yellowish cream.
Fracture very hard and very bitter in taste
Outer surface light brown, split longitudinally, warts comparatively large in size. Whole bark pealed off leaving coffee brown almost smooth inner surface.
Cut surface light yellow.
Fracture hard and bitter in taste
Outer surface grayish brown with shining. Bark easily detachable, thin, brittle, and twisted.
Cut surface canary yellow.
Fracture hard and bitter in taste
Cork cellsBrown, 15–25 layered Brown, 08–10 layeredDark brown, 8–15 layeredDark brown, 7–19 layered
Cork Cambium2 or 3 layered1 or 2 layered1 or 2 layered2 or 3 layered
Cortical zone20–25 layered, outer 4 to 6 layers compressed, devoid of stone cells 16–18 layered 20–24 layered20–26 layered
SclereidsSolitary or in group of 2 to 10Sometimes solitary but in group of 2 to 4, comparatively more than other three speciesSolitaryScattered or sometimes in linear groups
Pericyclic fibresMostly solitary but sometimes in groups of 2 to 10 Interrupted with stone cellsFrequently present comparatively lesser than B. aristata and B. asiatica Frequently present comparatively lesser than other three species.
VesselsIn group of 2 to 3 or solitarySolitary or in group of 2 to 4Mostly in group of 2 to 3 or solitarySolitary or in group of 3 or 4
Medullary Rays2 to 4 cells broad2 to 5 cells broad2 to 4 cells broad1 to 3 cells broad
PithPresentPresentPresentPresent