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Japanese barberry

Berberis thunbergii
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Foto: arhiv Zavoda Symbiosis
Foto: arhiv Zavoda Symbiosis
Foto: arhiv Zavoda Symbiosis


PATHWAYS: horticulture



DESCRIPTION: A deciduous, dense-crowned bush with thin branches. Leaves are simple, spatulate or obovate with a rounded top; narrower towards the base. Leaves are green to reddish, in cultivars also yellow, red or partly white. Stipules are modified into thin, sharp, single spines. The flowers are pale yellow to reddish, borne in arching, hanging clusters. Fruits are shiny red, egg-shaped berries, which persist until the next spring.

HABITAT: A wide variety of forest habitats, wetlands, bogs, grassland and ruderal habitats.

STATUS: Locally found throughout Europe, but especially common in Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom. One of the most commonly cultivated shrubs in gardens and urban green areas.  In Slovenia it is commonly cultivated in gardens and planted as hedges in urban green spaces. Especially in central Slovenia occasionally found as an escaped plant. 

SIMILAR SPECIES: Leaves of common barberry (Berberis vulgaris) have finely spinose leaf margins, flowers are borne in elongated, hanging clusters. Leaves of American barberry (B. canadensis) have slightly thickened, finely spinose leaf margins. Clusters of flowers are similar to the common barberry.

SOURCE: Field Guide to Invasive Alien Species in European Forests

Drawings: Paul Veenvliet
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