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Similar but less problematic plants:
Berberis aquifolium Early spring in a woodland habitat.
Ribes alpinum Flower and Leaf
Native alternative(s) for Berberis darwinii:
Berberis canadensis Form
Plants that fill a similar niche:
Berberis repens Mahonia repens
Ulmus americana Full Form
Crataegus phaenopyrum Crataegus phaenopyrum

Darwin Barberry Berberis darwinii

Other Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
BER-ber-is dar-WIN-ee-eye
Description

'Darwin Barberry' is a broadleaf evergreen shrub in the barberry family native to South America.  Charles Darwin noted this plant on his voyage of the Beagle.  It has a fountain-like densely branched form, showy yellow-orange flowers and grows to a height of 10 feet.  Plant this easy to grow shrub in the full sun to partial shade in average well-drained soils.  It will withstand more shade but will have a more open habit and less flowering.  Once it is established it can be quite drought and heat tolerant and it is resistant to browsing by deer.  To maintain its shape, prune it only to remove dead, broken or poorly formed branches.  However it is rhizomatous so sprouts from its base and it can form a thicket or be pruned into a privacy hedge. This plant is not typically grown on the east coast.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  It can be weedy.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#deciduous#heat tolerant#drought tolerant#perennial#easy to grow#wildlife plant#winter interest#security#hedges#privacy#deer resistant#spines#thickets#leathery leaves#evergreen shrub#early spring flowers#food source soft mast fruit#border#fountain form#songbirds
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#deciduous#heat tolerant#drought tolerant#perennial#easy to grow#wildlife plant#winter interest#security#hedges#privacy#deer resistant#spines#thickets#leathery leaves#evergreen shrub#early spring flowers#food source soft mast fruit#border#fountain form#songbirds
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Berberis
    Species:
    darwinii
    Family:
    Berberidacae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Chile, Argentina
    Wildlife Value:
    Bees and butterflies are attracted to the flowers, birds are attracted to the fruits.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 5 ft. 0 in. - 10 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 4 ft. 0 in. - 10 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Arching
    Dense
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Low
    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)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Available Space To Plant:
    6-feet-12 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    7b, 7a, 8b, 8a, 9b, 9a, 10b, 10a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Blue
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Berry
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Dark blue berry round, waxy
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Orange
    Red/Burgundy
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Winter
    Flower Description:
    Showy orange buds burnished with red erupt into orange-yellow flowers in 5" clusters on red stalks that are proliflic starting in the early spring.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Leathery
    Prickly
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Margin:
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    Simple, alternate, dark green above light yellow-green below leathery spiny serrate margin. The toothed leaves resemble holly.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Red/Burgundy
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Red branches are dense with 3-7 parted thorns.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Theme:
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Hedge
    Mass Planting
    Screen/Privacy
    Security
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Heat
    Problems:
    Spines/Thorns
    Weedy