Colletia armata

Common name:   Family: Rhamnaceae
Author: Miers. Botanical references: 11, 200
Synonyms: Colletia valdiviana (Phil.), Colletia spinosa armata ((Miers.)Reiche.)
Known Hazards: None known
Range: S. America – S. Chile.
Habitat: Not known
Edibility Rating (1-5): 0 Medicinal Rating (1-5): 0
Epithets: From a Dictionary of Botanical Epithets
armata = armed (spiny);
Systematics: From a UDSA Plants Database
Order: Rhamnales. Buckthorn family

Physical Characteristics

A decidious shrub growing to 3.5m by 3m at a slow rate. It is hardy to zone 8. It is in flower from September to December. The scented flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects. We rate it 0/5 for edibility and 0/5 for medicinal use.

The plant prefers light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils, requires well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires dry or moist soil. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure.

Habitats and Possible Locations

Hedge, Woodland, Sunny Edge, Dappled Shade.

Edible Uses

None known

Medicinal Uses

None known

Other Uses


A very prickly plant and also very tolerant of maritime exposure, it makes a good windbreak hedge and is also good for security. Its main drawback is that it is slow to reach an effective height


Cultivation details

Grows well in a sandy freely draining loam where it flowers freely in a sunny position11. Succeeds in dry soils11, 202. Plants tolerate partial shade if they are grown in a perfectly draining lean soil200. They are very tolerant of maritime exposure75, 200. A very ornamental plant1, it is not very hardy in Britain, succeeding outdoors only in the milder areas of the country and tolerating temperatures down to about -5°c200. The plants do not have leaves, but they have very sharp spines which are used instead of the leaves in the function of photosynthesis188. The flowers are fragrant188. They have the scent of vanilla202. A very slow growing plant75. The form ‘Rosea’ is stronger-growing202.


Seed – we have no information for this species but suggest sowing fresh seed as soon as it is ripe in a greenhouse and stored seed as early in the year as it is received. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe side shoots, 5 – 8cm with a heel, July/August in a frame200. Cuttings of mature side shoots of the current year’s growth, 10 – 12cm with a heel, early winter in a cold frame. Leave for 18 months before potting up. Good percentage78.


Flowers: Fresh
The fragrant flowers have the scent of vanilla.


A stronger-growing form of the species202.