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Berberis canadensis

Phonetic Spelling
BER-ber-is ka-na-DEN-sis
Description

American Barberry is a native, medium size, deciduous shrub found in nature near streams and woodland. While relatively rare, it can be found in the mountains and Piedmont areas of North Carolina.  It has spiny bright green leaves and reddish-brown stems with three-parted spines which distinguish it from other barberry species. Berberis is a Latinized form of the Arabian name for barberry. Canadensis means "from Canada."

American Barberry is an upright plant, sparingly, but multi-branched with long branches and short lateral branchlets. It often suckers and forms colonies. It is a hardy plant that tolerates poor and clay soils and dry to moist conditions.

Diseases, Insect Pests, and Other Plant Problems:

This species is an alternate host for Puccinia graminis, which causes stem rust of wheat, barley, oats, and other cereal crops

VIDEO created by Andy Pulte for “Landscape Plant Identification, Taxonomy and Morphology” a plant identification course offered by the Department of Plant Sciences, University of Tennessee.

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Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#perennials#native shrub#security plant#hedges#NC native#spines#border planting#evergreen shrub
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#perennials#native shrub#security plant#hedges#NC native#spines#border planting#evergreen shrub
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Berberis
    Species:
    canadensis
    Family:
    Berberidaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Eastern North America
    Distribution:
    Virginia to Georgia, Alberta and Indiana
    Edibility:
    Not poisonous, but berries contain berberine that can cause stomach upset, especially with children.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Perennial
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Arching
    Multi-stemmed
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Coarse
    Appendage:
    Spines
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    NC Region:
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6a, 7a, 7b, 8b, 8a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Red/Burgundy
    Fruit Type:
    Berry
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Raceme
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Petals:
    Bracts
    Flower Description:
    Blossoms in April and May. Inflorescences racemose, 3-12-flowered, bracteoles membranous, apex acuminate. Flowers: anther filaments without distal pair.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Prickly
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Bright green, simple, ovate to elliptical with bristly toothed margins. One to nine bristles per leaf. The leaves are clustered at the ends of short spur branches. The leaf arrangement is alternate, though appearing whorled.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    White
    Surface/Attachment:
    Smooth
    Bark Description:
    Striped dark brown with pale white banding
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Red/Burgundy
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    Spines are three-parted and found just below the buds. Stems dimorphic, with long primary shoots and short axillary shoots.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Riparian
    Slope/Bank
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Rock Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Hedge
    Security
    Problems:
    Spines/Thorns