Page authors: David Giblin, Don Knoke
Berberis thunbergii
Japanese barberry

Distribution: Sparingly introduced in Washington; escaped throughout central and eastern United States and Canada.

Habitat: Disturbed areas

Flowers: April-May

Origin: Introduced

Growth Duration: Perennial

Conservation Status: Not of concern


Deciduous shrubs 0.3-3 m. tall, the stems dimorphic, with elongate primary and short axillary shoots; second year bark glabrous, purple to brown; stems spiny.


Leaves simple; petioles 0-0.8 cm. long; leaf blades obovate to spatulate, 1-veined from the base, 1.2-2.4 cm. long and 0.3-1 cm. wide, thin and flexible, the base tapered, the margins plane and entire, the tip rounded; surfaces smooth and dull.


Inflorescence a 1- to 5-flowered umbel, 1-1.5 cm. long; flowers yellow, with 6 sepals, 6 petals, and 3 membranous, scale-like bracteoles; stamens 6.


Berries red, ellipsoid or spheric, 9-10 mm. in diameter, juicy and solid

Accepted Name:
Berberis thunbergii DC.
Publication: Syst. Nat. 2: 19. 1821. 1821.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
(none provided)
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Berberis thunbergii in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database.

WA Flora Checklist: Berberis thunbergii checklist entry.

E-Flora BC: Berberis thunbergii atlas page.

CalPhotos: Berberis thunbergii photos.

USDA Plants: Berberis thunbergii information.

2 photographs:
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