FloraFinder.org
Home   About Us   Want to Help?   FAQ  
Searching   Image Use Biblio

Berberis vulgaris

Berberis vulgaris L.

 

Common Barberry, Barberry, Berbery, European Barberry, Jaundice-berry, Pipperidge Bush

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae (from Stearn’s Botanical Latin)
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassMagnoliidaeIncludes magnolias, nutmeg, bay laurel, cinnamon, avocado, black pepper, and many others
OrderRanunculalesBasal (evolved earlier) eudicots, also called “true dicots”
FamilyBerberidaceaeBarberry family
GenusBerberisThe Latinized form of the Arabic name for this fruit
Speciesvulgaris“Common”

About plant names...

The shrub is native to central and southern Europe, northwest Africa and western Asia. It has become naturalised in northern Europe, including the British Isles and Scandinavia, and North America. Both this species and Japanese barberry, a Japanese relative, were imported, used as ornamental shrubs and, because of their thorns, natural fences. Both escaped cultivation, but the Japanese variety is aggressive and often considered invasive.

Identification: Shrubs are 3-9½' (1-3 m) in height, with grooved stems. Leaves are oval, ¾-1¾" (2-5 cm) × ⅜-¾" (1-2 cm), finely toothed, in clusters that include a spine ⅛-¼" (3-8 mm) long and 2-5 leaves. Flowers are yellow, ⅛-³/₁₆" (4-6 mm) across, in panicles 1-2" (3-6 cm) long. Berries are bright red, with a distinctive oval shape, ¼-⅜" (7-10 mm) long and ¹/₁₆-³/₁₆" (3-5 mm) in diameter, hanging in tight clusters.

Edibility: Berries are very sour, and hard to harvest because of the spines, but, when combined with sugar, may be used to create a deep ruby red jelly traditionally used to accompany meat dishes. The berries have natural pectin, which causes the boiled mixture to gel; they are also rich in vitamin C. They are best harvested after a freeze. Japanese barberry, more common in most places, has similar-appearing berries that do not make good jelly. Leaves and root bark of both species are mildly poisonous, principally due to berberine.

Below is a comparison of two common species of barberry:

 

Berberis vulgaris (Common Barberry, Barberry, Berbery, European Barberry, Jaundice-berry, Pipperidge Bush)

10/7/2012 · Beaver Brook Assn Conservation Lands, Hollis, NH
≈ 12 × 8" (31 × 20 cm)

Berberis vulgaris (Common Barberry, Barberry, Berbery, European Barberry, Jaundice-berry, Pipperidge Bush)

2/14/2012 · Halibut Point State Park, Rockport, MA
≈ 9 × 6" (22 × 14 cm) ID is uncertain

Berberis vulgaris (Common Barberry, Barberry, Berbery, European Barberry, Jaundice-berry, Pipperidge Bush)

2/14/2012 · Halibut Point State Park, Rockport, MA
≈ 3 × 4½" (7.9 × 11 cm) ID is uncertain

 
Berberis thunbergii
You are here
Berberis vulgaris
Common Name

Japanese Barberry

Common Barberry
Plant 3-6' (91-182 cm) high. Stems are woody and grooved. There are ¼" (6.3 mm) thorns along the branches, which arch and overlap each other. 3-9½' (1-3 m) in height, with grooved stems. There are ¼" (6.3 mm) thorns along the branches.
Flowers ¼" (6.3 mm) around and yellow, distributed along branches. Yellow, ⅛-³/₁₆" (4-6 mm) across, in panicles 1-2" (3-6 cm) long.
Leaves Bright green and spatula-shaped, much wider at the ends, about ¾" (1.9 cm) long and ¼" (6.3 mm) wide. In the fall, the leaves turn orange, deep red, or purple in color. Oval, ¾-1¾" (2-5 cm) × ⅜-¾" (1-2 cm), finely toothed, in clusters that include a spine ⅛-¼" (3-8 mm) long and 2-5 leaves.
Fruit Berries are bright red, with a distinctive oval shape, ¼-⅜" (7-10 mm) long and ¹/₁₆-³/₁₆" (3-5 mm) in diameter, distributed fairly evenly along branches. Berries are bright red, with a distinctive oval shape, ¼-⅜" (7-10 mm) long and ¹/₁₆-³/₁₆" (3-5 mm) in diameter, hanging in tight clusters.
Range/ Zones

Type Wild Wild
Occurrence Common to invasive Fairly common

 

Online References:

Berberis vulgaris on Discover Life

Berberis vulgaris on luirig.altervista.org

Berberis vulgaris on Wikimedia Commons

Berberis vulgaris on Henriette’s Herbal Homepage

Berberis vulgaris on Wikipedia

Berberis vulgaris on ZipcodeZoo.com

Berberis vulgaris description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 3 Nov 2013.

© FloraFinder.org. All rights reserved.


 

Berberis vulgaris (Common Barberry, Barberry, Berbery, European Barberry, Jaundice-berry, Pipperidge Bush)

2/14/2012 · Halibut Point State Park, Rockport, MA
≈ 7 × 4½" (17 × 11 cm) ID is uncertain

Range:

About this map...