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PlantFiles: Common Barberry
Berberis vulgaris

Family: Berberidaceae (bear-ber-id-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Berberis (BUR-bur-is) (Info)
Species: vulgaris (vul-GAIR-iss) (Info)

5 members have or want this plant for trade.

Alpines and Rock Gardens

8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

Unknown - Tell us

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:
Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring
Late Spring/Early Summer

Good Fall Color

Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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By Todd_Boland
Thumbnail #1 of Berberis vulgaris by Todd_Boland

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2 positives
1 neutral
2 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Negative coriaceous On Feb 21, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

It's illegal to trade, transport, or plant this species in my state and three others.

It's the alternate host for wheat rust fungus, an important disease of wheat that has a serious economic impact.

It also invades and impoverishes natural areas.

Negative RosemaryA On Aug 4, 2008, RosemaryA from Toronto, ON (Zone 5b) wrote:

In Ontario, common barberry is legally considered a noxious weed; property owners are required to eliminate it.

Positive shimer On Jan 25, 2006, shimer from Marietta, GA (Zone 7b) wrote:

We had Barberry Rice at a local Persian restaurant which was delicious (and not toxic in any way). I found this informative and interesting article on a google search--thought others might like to read it:

Neutral saya On Jun 22, 2005, saya from Heerlen
Netherlands (Zone 8b) wrote:

I 've read parts of the plant are slight poisonous..special the roots are more poison... the berries do no harm. The plant contains 1 - 3 % Berberine, 1,5 % Oxyacanthine, Magnoflorine, Berberrubine, Berbamine, Jatrorrhizine (Jatrorhizine), Columbamine, Palmatine and Isotetrandrine. The roots contain 15 % Alkaloides. Certainly (parts of) the can be used very well as a medicine..but take is still poisonous.

Positive Michaelp On Nov 11, 2003, Michaelp from Glendale, UT (Zone 5a) wrote:

I think this is one of the best herbs, used for a wide variety of complaints and one of the best wide spectrum antibiotics I know of.

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