There are many species of barberry, most with green leaves, this shrub with it’s purple leaves is easy to identify but has extremely sharp thorns so care should be taken when collecting the berries.
|Common Names||Barberry, Barberry, Berberis|
|Scientific Name||Berberis thunbergii atropurpurea|
The leaves are rounded or spoon shaped, red/purple/green on top and paler and green underneath. Other varieties of Barberry have mainly green leaves, some with spines.
Mainly planted in gardens and parks but can be found in the wild as birds can spread the seeds and they will propagate quite easily.
Sharp and acidic with an underlying sweet taste.
Care should be taken when collecting the fruit as the plant has nasty long thorns.
Barberries have been used in the past as a herbal medicine but are now considered unsafe due to possible adverse reactions with some prescription drugs.
The Barberry is very close to Mahonia, the two were thought to be the same but genetic studies have proved them to be from different genera.
A yellow dye can be produced from the roots, bark and stem of the plant.