Japanese barberry USDA PLANTS SYMBOL: BETH
Berberis thunbergii DC.

Japanese barberry is a small deciduous shrub from 2-8 ft. (0.6-2.4 m) tall. The thin, grooved branches have thin, straight spines. The leaves are up to 1 in. (24 mm) long and wedge-shaped. The pale-yellow flowers occur in drooping clusters of 2-5 and develop in mid-spring to early summer. The berries ripen to a bright red color and are 1/4-1/3 in. (7-10 mm) long. Japanese barberry invades a variety of habitats from shaded woodlands to open fields and wetlands. It is very shade-tolerant and can form dense stands which shade out and displace native species. Japanese barberry is rapidly spread by birds that eat the berries thus dispersing the seeds. It is native to Asia and was first introduced into The United States in 1864 as an ornamental. It is still widely planted for landscaping and hedges.

Identification, Biology, Control and Management Resources