: Berberis thunbergii var. atropurpurea
: Barberry, Thunberg's barberry, Japanese berberis
: Barberry is a common horticultural species and frequently escapes from cultivation; deer herbivory minimal. The non-native common barberry (B. vulgaris
) is also invasive but was eradicated from large parts of its range in the early twentieth century as it is a host to black stem grain rust.
: Spiny, deciduous shrub; typically 0.5-1 m (2-3 ft) tall.
: Simple, alternate, oval to spoon shaped with smooth margins, 1.3-2 cm (0.5-0.75 in) long; bright green above, lighter below, in clusters at each node, red to purple in the fall depending on the cultivar.
: Numerous; spiny; slightly curving; older stems gray; twigs and young stems turning reddish brown in winter; inner bark yellow.
: Small, yellow in color, 6 petals, stalked, single or in small clusters of 2-4 blossoms; blooms April through May.
Fruit and seeds
: Small, bright red, egg-shaped berries found singly or in clusters on slender stalks; mature in midsummer; remain on stems into winter; often dispersed by birds, deer, turkey and grouse. Some cultivars appear to produce little or no fruit.
: Found along woodland edges, open woods, roadsides, stream banks, old fields; tolerates a range of soil, moisture and light conditions; can establish under forest canopy.
: By seed, creeping roots and cut stumps; branches root freely where they touch the ground.
: American barberry (B. canadensis
) has toothed leaves and usually three pronged spines.
Monitoring and rapid response
: Monitor sunny open sites and edges in spring when barberry leafs out before native shrubs. Begin control efforts in highest quality areas; hand pull or dig young plants, removing all roots. Target mature shrubs that provide a source of seed; cutting effective when cut stumps are treated with herbicide; foliar herbicide treatment is effective in areas with few native plants. In fire-adapted communities, late spring burns with good fuel may kill seedlings.
: The Michigan Natural Features Inventory
(MNFI) has partnered with MISIN to provide the information in this fact sheet. Species images and/or information were used with permission from "A Field Identification Guide to Invasive Plants in Michigan's Natural Communities
" and "A Field Guide to Invasive Plants of Aquatic and Wetland Habitats for Michigan