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Japanese Barberry Berberis thunbergii

Description

Berberis thunbergii is a dense, rounded shrub with numerous branches. It easy to transplant and dislikes wet feet. This plant has medium to fine texture. Berberis thunbergii can be used as specimen, hedge, or as barrier planting. 

Birds that eat the Berberis thunbergii berries rapidly spread the seeds into shaded woodlands, open fields and wetlands. It is native to Asia and was first introduced into The United States in 1864 as an ornamental. It is still widely planted for landscaping and hedges.

Quick ID Hints:

  • Stems with only a single spine at each node 
  • Fruit bright red berry often persisting in winter
  • Red and green-leafed varieties
  • Leaves deciduous, obovate to spatulate, entire

Deciduous shrub to 1 m, dense and rounded. 

Flowers in late spring; semideciduous in South; foliage green, variegated, reddish-purple, yellowish.  

Urban tolerant; intolerant of high heat loads; pest & disease problems. 

 

Var. atropurpurea - foliage reddish-purple shades. 'Crimson Pygymy' is current popular dwarf selection.

Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#red#sun#deciduous#fall color#yellow#songbirds#full sun#partial shade#drought tolerant#orange#spring#shrub#red berries#yellow flowers#salt tolerant#spring flowers#winter interest#fall interest#urban#playground#deer damage#deer resistant#fields#children's garden#urban conditions#winter garden#wetland#winter berries#woodland#pollinator plant#fantz
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#red#sun#deciduous#fall color#yellow#songbirds#full sun#partial shade#drought tolerant#orange#spring#shrub#red berries#yellow flowers#salt tolerant#spring flowers#winter interest#fall interest#urban#playground#deer damage#deer resistant#fields#children's garden#urban conditions#winter garden#wetland#winter berries#woodland#pollinator plant#fantz
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Berberis
    Species:
    thunbergii
    Family:
    Berberidaceae
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Asia
    Wildlife Value:
    Birds that eat the Berberis thunbergii berries rapidly spread the seeds into shaded woodlands, open fields and wetlands.
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Attracts Pollinators
    Textural
    Wildlife Food Source
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Tolerates drought, urban conditions, range of soil types, slightly salt tolerant; seldom damaged by deer
    Dimensions:
    Height: 3 ft. 0 in. - 6 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 4 ft. 0 in. - 7 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Shrub
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Dense
    Oval
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Medium
  • 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 Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Very Dry
    Usda Plant Hardiness Zone:
    5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Red/Burgundy
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Winter
    Fruit Type:
    Berry
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    This plant has .3-1", bright red berries in fall, persisting into winter. An ellipsoidal berry.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    This plant has .3- to .5-in., pale yellow flowers in spring that are often hidden under the foliage. Inflorescence in subumbellate. 2-5, yellow, weakly foetid, pedicels. racemes.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Purple/Lavender
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Orange
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Oblong
    Obovate
    Spatulate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    This plant has alternate, simple, and bright green leaves that are .5 to 1.3 in. long and narrow at the base. The leaves have bright red to orange fall color. Obovate to spatulate-oblong, entire, clustered on dwarf shoots in spine axil.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Angular, dark brown, bearing single spines.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Recreational Play Area
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Children's Garden
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Barrier
    Hedge
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Salt
    Urban Conditions