Japanese barberry

Ranunculales > Berberidaceae > 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

  • Weeds of the Week - USDA Forest Service, Northeastern Area, Forest Health Protection

Selected Images from Invasive.org

Click on each thumbnail to download the image at 1536x1024 resolution or below for available resolutions.
Use 768x512 for Microsoft PowerPoint and use 1536x1024 for Prints and Publications.

Plant(s); Taken September 1997 at Catoctin Mountain National Park, Thurmont MD
Jil M. Swearingen, USDI National Park Service, Bugwood.org
768x512 / 1536x1024

Plant(s); April
James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
768x512 / 1536x1024

Plant(s); April
James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
768x512 / 1536x1024

Plant(s); Purple morph
Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, Bugwood.org
768x512

Foliage;
Britt Slattery, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bugwood.org
768x512

Stem(s); thorns and stems in April
James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
768x512 / 1536x1024

Foliage; fall foliage
James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
768x512 / 1536x1024

Foliage;
Britt Slattery, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bugwood.org
768x512

Foliage;
James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
768x512 / 1536x1024

Plant(s);
James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
768x512 / 1536x1024

Foliage;
James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
768x512 / 1536x1024

Flower(s);
Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, Bugwood.org
768x512 / 1536x1024

Fruit(s);
Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, Bugwood.org
768x512

Fruit(s);
Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, Bugwood.org
768x512

Fruit(s);
Richard Old, XID Services, Inc., Bugwood.org
768x512 / 1536x1024

Fruit(s);
Barry Rice, sarracenia.com, Bugwood.org
768x512 / 1536x1024

Stem(s); April
James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
768x512 / 1536x1024

Infestation; Understory incursion.
Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, Bugwood.org
768x512 / 1536x1024

Seed(s);
Steve Hurst, USDA NRCS PLANTS Database, Bugwood.org
768x512 / 1536x1024

Infestation; May
Steve Manning, Invasive Plant Control, Bugwood.org

Invasive Reference(s):

Check Invasive.org for most current lists.
  • Georgia - EPPC list
  • Kentucky - EPPC List
  • Massachusetts - Noxious Weed Law
  • New Hampshire - Noxious Weed Law
  • Rhode Island - Noxious Weed Law
  • Tennessee - EPPC List
  • Virginia - Invasive Alien Plant Species
  • Mid-Atlantic - EPPC List
  • Invasive Plants of the Upper Midwest
  • Invasive Plant Atlas of New England


External Links


footer line
USDA Forest Service Bugwood University of Georgia