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Common Barberry Berberis vulgaris


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Common Barberry, habit, leaves, and berries
credit: Arnstein Ronning/CCSA

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Alternate name: European Barberry

Family: Berberidaceae, Barberry view all from this family

Description Berberis vulgaris is naturalised in North America. It is a deciduous shrub growing up to 4 m high. The leaves are small oval, 2–5 cm long and 1–2 cm broad, with a serrated margin; they are borne in clusters of 2-5 together, subtended by a three-branched spine 3–8 mm long. The flowers are yellow, 4–6 mm across, produced on 3–6 cm long panicles in late spring. The fruit is an oblong red berry 7–10 mm long and 3–5 mm broad, ripening in late summer or autumn; they are edible but very sour, and rich in Vitamin C.

Habitat Cities, suburbs & towns, Scrub, shrub & brushlands, Grasslands & prairies, Fields.

Range Great Lakes, Mid-Atlantic, Plains, Rocky Mountains, California, Eastern Canada, Southwest, Northwest, New England, Southeast.