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Butcher’s Broom, or Ruscus aculeatus, is a low-growing perennial shrub with tough, erect, stems and very rigid leaves that terminate in a sharp spine. From the center of the leaves grow small greenish-white flowers that blossom in early spring and develop into red berries in autumn. The tiny red berries are attached directly to the leaves by a short stem, making it a very strange looking plant.

The Butcher’s broom, however, is not breaking any rules of the plant kingdom, because what appears to be leaves are actually modified stems called cladodes, that have been flattened to not only look like leaves but serve their function as well.

ruscus-aculeatus-1

Photo credit: Gil Costa/Flickr

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