More Information About Ruscus
Ruscus is a bizarre but easy-to-grow group of evergreen shade perennials distantly related to lilies. They are popular in gardens as a low growing evergreen hedge, or a unique looking specimen plant, and some people grow butcher's broom as an attractive cut stem for flower arrangements.
Another plant called Poet's laurel is often also sold as Italian ruscus but is in a different genus, Danae (read more about Danae here).
Ruscus plants are born without leaves, left instead with prehistoric-looking cladodes as its 'foliage'. These cladodes are evergreen, thick, stiff and terminate in a needle-like point, making the plants as spiny (and deer resistant) as any cactus and perfect as a pint-sized barrier. Native from England through the Caucuses and into northern Africa, ruscus inhabits dry, rocky habitats and as you might expect then, Ruscus is drought-tolerant in the garden (although it grows and looks best with regular watering). Some ruscus produce a wonderful display of red-orange berries and gardeners should seek out these varieties for their gardens.
Tough-as-nails and easy-to-grow, Ruscus are perennials that prefer partial to deep shade and well-drained soil.