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Barberry

Edible Edible Autumn Autumn Summer Summer

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.

Hedgerow Type
Common Names Barberry, Barberry, Berberis
Scientific Name Berberis thunbergii atropurpurea
Season Start Sep
Season End Nov
Please note that each and every hedgerow item you come across may vary in appearance to these photos.

Leaves

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.

Flowers

Has six yellow/orange/red petals and six sepals. Can grow singly or in clusters or racemes.

Fruit

Small, shiny, oblong red fruits with small seeds in the centre.

Stem

The stems have very sharp long thorns.

Habitat

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.

Taste

Sharp and acidic with an underlying sweet taste.

Frequency

Common.

Collecting

Care should be taken when collecting the fruit as the plant has nasty long thorns.

Medicinal Uses

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.

Other Facts

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.

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