Genus: Berberis

Berberis vulgaris
Berberis vulgaris   L.  -  Common Barberry
Photo © by Peter Nelson
Taken at Lake Mohonk, NY, 1987.

By Science Staff

Not peer reviewed

Last Modified 02/01/2013

Back to Berberidaceae


Berberis L., Sp. Pl. 330. 1753. Gen. Pl. 153. 1754. LECTOTYPE: Berberis vulgaris L. designated by Britton & Brown (1913).

Key to the species of Berberis

1. Leaves evergreen...Berberis julianae
1. Leaves deciduous...2

2. Leaf margins spinulose-toothed; leaves 1.5-9 cm; twigs gray; thorns often with 2 side branches as long as the center spine; flowers racemose...Berberis vulgaris
2. Leaf margins smooth; leaves 1-4 cm; twigs brown; thorns often solitary, or with 2 small side branches; flowers in small clusters or solitary...Berberis thunbergii

List of Berberis Species

References to Berberis

  • Ahrendt, L. W. A. 1961. Berberis and Mahonia: a taxonomic revision. J. Linn. Soc. Bot. 57: 1-410.
  • Ambler, M. A. 1965. Seven alien plant species. William L. Hutcheson Memorial For. Bull. 2: 1-8.
  • Boynton, K. R. 1926. Berberis thunbergii. Addisonia 10: 59.
  • Cassidy, T. M.; Fownes, J. H.; Harrington, R. A. 2004. Nitrogen limits an invasive perennial shrub in forest understory. Biological Invasions 6: 113-121.
  • Davis, O. H. 1927. Germination and early growth of Cornus florida, Sambucus canadensis, and Berberis thunbergii. Bot. Gaz. 84: 225-63.
  • Decker, S. R. 1991. Nutritional evaluation of winter foods of wild turkeys. Canad. J. Zoology 69: 2128-2132.
  • Dermen, H. 1931. A study of chromosome number in two genera of the Berberidaceae: Mahonia and Berberis. J. Arnold Arbor. 12: 281-7.
  • Ehrenfeld, J. G. 1997. Invasion of deciduous forest preserves in the New York metropolitan region by Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii DC.). J. Torrey Bot. Soc. 124: 210-5.
  • Ehrenfeld, J. G. 1999. Structure and dynamics of populations of Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii DC.) in deciduous forests of New Jersey. Biological Invasions 1: 203-213.
  • Ehrenfeld, J. G.; Kourtev, P. S.; Huang, W. Z. 2001. Changes in soil functions following invasions of exotic understory plants in deciduous forests. Ecol. Applic. 11: 1287-1300.
  • Ernst, W. R. 1964. The genera of Berberidaceae, Lardizabalaceae, and Menispermaceae in the southeastern United States. J. Arnold Arbor. 45: 1-35.
  • Freeman, C. C. 1998. Vascular plants new to Kansas. Sida 18: 593-604.
  • Fulling, E. H. 1943. Plant life and the law of man. Barberry, currant, gooseberry and cedar control. Bot. Rev. (Lancaster) 9: 483-592.
  • Glenn, Steven D. 1995. honeybees (Apis sp.) and bumblebees (Bombus sp.) visiting Berberis thunbergii DC. flowers.
  • Griffin, M. H. 1937. The chromosome numbers of Berberis. Trans. Roy. Soc. South Africa 24: 203-6.
  • Harrington, R. A.; Fownes, J. H.; Cassidy, T. M. 2004. Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii) in forest understory: leaf and whole plant responses to nitrogen availability. Amer. Midl. Naturalist 151: 206-216.
  • Heit, C. E. 1968. Thirty-five years' testing of tree and shrub seed. J. Forest. 66(8): 632-3.
  • Herron, P.M. 2007. Invasive plants and their ecological strategies: prediction and explanation of woody plant invasion in New England. Diversity and Distributions 13: 633-644.
  • Hunter, J. C.; Mattice, J. A. 2002. The spread of woody exotics into the forests of a northeastern landscape, 1938-1999. J. Torrey Bot. Soc. 129: 220-227.
  • Kern, F. D. 1921. Observations on the dissemination of barberry. Ecology 2(3): 211-4.
  • Kim, Y. D.; Jansen, R. K. 1994. Characterization and phylogenetic distribution of a chloroplast DNA rearrangement in the Berberidaceae. Pl. Syst. Evol. 193: 107-14. (Other families/genera discussed)
  • Kosenko, V. N. 1980. Comparative palynomorphological study of the family Berberidaceae: 1. Morphology of pollen grains of the genera Diphylleia, Podophyllum, Nandina, Berberis, Mahonia, Ranzania. Bot. Zhurn. (Moscow & Lenengrad) 65(2): 198-205. (In Russian; English summary)
  • Kourtev, P. S.; Ehrenfeld, J. G.; Huang, W. Z. 1998. Effects of exotic plant species on soil properties in hardwood forests of New Jersey. Water Air Soil Pollut. 105: 493-501.
  • Leavitt, R. G. 1900. Reversions in Berberis and Sagittaria. Rhodora 2: 149-55.
  • Lebuhn, G.; Anderson, G. J. 1994. Anther tripping and pollen dispersing in Berberis thunbergii. Amer. Midl. Naturalist 131: 257-65.
  • Lehrer, J. M. 2006. Seedling populations produced by colored-leaf genotypes of Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii DC.) contain seddlings with green leaf phenotype. J. Environ. Hort. 24: 133-136.
  • Leinfallner, W. 1956. Zur Morphologie des Gynezeums von Berberis. Oesterr. Bot. Z. 103: 600-12. (In German)
  • Loconte, H.; Blackwell, W. H. 1984. Berberidaceae of Ohio. Castanea 49: 39-43.
  • Lubell, J. D. 2008. Detecting the influence of ornamental Berberis thunbergii var. atropurpurea in invasive populations of Berberis thunbergii (Berberidaceae) using AFLP. Amer. J. Bot. 95: 700-705.
  • Lubell, J. D.; Brand, M. H. 2011. Germination, growth and survival of Berberis thunbergii DC. (Berberidaceae) and Berberis thunbergii var. atropurpurea in five natural environments. Biological Invasions 13: 135-141.
  • Lumis, G. P.; Hofstra, G.; Hall, R. 1973. Sensitivity of roadside trees and shrubs to aerial drift of deicing salt. Hortscience 8: 475-7.
  • Lumis, G. P.; Hofstra, G.; Hall, R. 1975. Salt damage to roadside plants. J. Arboric. 1(1): 14-6.
  • Lundgren, M. R. 2004. Influence of land use and site characteristics on invasive plant abundance in the Quinebaug Highlands of southern New England. Northeastern Naturalist 11: 313-332.
  • Mack, R. N. 1991. The commercial seed trade: an early disperser of weeds in the United States. Econ. Bot. 45: 257-273.
  • Mack, R. N. 2003. Plant naturalizations and invasions in the eastern United States: 1634-1860. Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 90: 77-90.
  • Mitchell, R. S. (eds.) (1983): 1983. Berberidaceae through Fumariaceae of New York State. Vol. NY State Museum Bull. 451. Univ. of the state of NY, Albany, NY. , 66 pages.
  • Nowicke, J.; Skvarla, J. 1981. Pollen morphology and phylogenetic relationships of the Berberidaceae. Smithsonian Contrib. Bot. 50: 1-83.
  • Nuzzo, V. A. 2009. Earthworm invasion as the driving force behind plant invasion and community change in northeastern North American forests. Conserv. Biol. 23: 966-974.
  • Sargent, C. S. 1889. New or little known plants. Berberis thunbergii. Gard. & Forest 2: 52.
  • Schneider, C. 1923. Notes on hybrid Berberis and some other garden forms. J. Arnold Arbor. 4: 193-231.
  • Schneider, C. K. 1904. Die Gattung Berberis (Euberberis). Bull. Herb. Boissier 5: 33-48, 133-48, 391-403, 655-70, 800-31.
  • Silander, J. A.; Klepeis, D. M. 1999. The Invasion Ecology of Japanese Barberry (Berberis thunbergii) in the New England Landscape. Biological Invasions 1: 189-201.
  • Terebayashi, S. 1978. Studies in morphology and systematics of Berberidaceae II. Floral anatomy of Mahonia japonica (Thunb.) DC. and Berberis thunbergii DC. Acta Phytotax. Geobot. 29: 106-18.
  • Tischler, G. 1902. Die Berberidaceen und Podophyllaceen. Bot. Jahrb. Syst. 31: 596-727. (In German)
  • Usteri, A. 1899. Das Geshlecht der Berberitzen. Mitt. Deutsch. Dendrol. Ges. 8: 77-94. (In German)
  • Vaarama, A. 1947. Contributions to the cytology of the genus Berberis. Hereditas 33: 422-4.
  • Wohl, N. 1995. Density and distribution of Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii), an exotic shrub species naturalized in the Morristown National Historical Park, Morris County, New Jersey. Bull. New Jersey Acad. Sci. 39: 1-5.