Berberis vulgaris, Common Barberry

Invasive Species, Extension Master Gardener February 09, 2012 Print Friendly and PDF

Invasive Species: Berberis vulgaris, Common Barberry

Common barberry is an invasive deciduous shrub that can reach 13 ft. (4 m) in height. The leaves, which occur in clusters of two to five, are oval, 3/4 in. to 2 in. (2 to 5 cm) long, 1/4 to 3/4 in. (1 to 2 cm) wide, and serrate. Each cluster of leaves is subtended by a short, three-branched spine. Flowering occurs in May to June, when yellow flowers that are less than 1/4 in. (6 mm) wide develop in panicles. Berries are red, oblong, and less than 1/3 in. (10 mm) long. Common barberry is native to central and southern Europe and occurs in shaded areas.

What are invasive species, and why should we be concerned about them? 


Taxonomy: Scientific and Common Names for This Species

Ranunculales > Berberidaceae > Berberis vulgaris L

Synonym(s): beet, epine-vinette, epine-vinette commune, European barberry, vinettier

Berberis vulgaris - USDA PLANTS Profile

Distribution Maps

common barberry - The reported distribution of this invasive species across the United States (Source: Invasive Plant Atlas of the United States)

Up-to-the-minute distribution maps and why they are important 

Reporting This Invasive Species

What is the best way to report the occurrence of an invasive species? 

 How to report an invasive species sighting to EDDMapS - Early Detection & Distribution Mapping System

EDDMapS - Report an invasive species to EDDMapS.

County Extension Offices - Find your county Extension office on this map provided by USDA.

How to Identify

This invasive species can be identified by looking for the characteristics described in the paragraphs that follow.

Shrub

Common barberry is an invasive deciduous shrub that can reach 13 ft. (4 m) in height.

Robert Videki, Doronicum Kft., bugwood.org Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut,     bugwood.org

Foliage

The leaves, which occur in clusters of two to five, are oval, 3/4 in. to 2 in. (2 to 5 cm) long, 1/4 to 3/4 in. (1 to 2 cm) wide, and serrate. Each cluster of leaves is subtended by a short, three-branched spine.

 
Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut,  bugwood.org bugwood.org

Flower

Flowering occurs in May to June, when yellow flowers that are less than 1/4 in. (6 mm) wide develop in panicles.

 
Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut,  bugwood.org bugwood.org

Fruit

Berries are red, oblong, and less than 1/3 in. (10 mm) long.

 
Steve Hurst, USDA NRCS PLANTS Database, bugwood.org bugwood.org

 

Native Species That Resemble Common Barberry

- Images at invasive.org

   
bugwood.org bugwood.org

 

- Images at invasive.org

   
bugwood.org bugwood.org

 

Additional Images for Common Barberry

common barberry - Images at invasive.org

 

Learning Resources for Common Barberry

Berberis vulgaris Identification Card - U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Berberis vulgaris Fact Sheet - U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

 

Additional Information, Biology, Control and Management Resources

Control and management recommendations vary according to individual circumstances. Location, habitat, weather, and a variety of other conditions are factors that help determine the best treatment choice. To find the safest and most effective treatment for your situation, consult your state's land-grant institution. If you will use chemicals as part of the control process, always refer to the product label .

United States Land Grant University System - Find your Land Grant University's College of Agriculture, University Cooperative Extension Service, or other related partner on this map provided by USDA.

Invasive Plant Atlas of New England - University of Connecticut

Weed of the Week - USDA Forest Service

Fire Effects Information System - USDA Forest Service

DCNR Invasive Plant Tutorial - Plant Conservation Alliance, Alien Plant Working Group


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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.