Page authors: Don Knoke, David Giblin
Berberis vulgaris
common barberry, European barberry

Distribution: Occurring east of the Cascades crest in Washington; British Columbia to Washington, east to Idaho and Montana; also occurring in central and northeastern North America.

Habitat: Dry waste ground, forest understory, and other disturbed sites.

Flowers: April-June

Origin: Introduced from Europe

Growth Duration: Perennial

Conservation Status: Not of concern


Deciduous, upright shrub to 4 m. tall, the stems with 3-pointed spines at the nodes.


in whorls, obcordate to oblanceolate, with numerous fine, sharp teeth.


Inflorescence of bracteate, pendant racemes; perianth of 5 alternating whorls of 3 members each; outer 3 greenish-yellow, 2-3 mm. long (bracts); next 6 bright yellow, 6-8 mm. long (sepals); inner 6 bright yellow, slightly shorter, bi-lobed, oblong (petals); stamens 6, opposite the petals; style none, stigma sessile.


Berry scarlet, ellipsoid.

Accepted Name:
Berberis vulgaris L.
Publication: Sp. Pl. 1: 330. 1753.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
(none provided)
Additional Resources:

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

WA Flora Checklist: Berberis vulgaris checklist entry.

E-Flora BC: Berberis vulgaris atlas page.

CalPhotos: Berberis vulgaris photos.

USDA Plants: Berberis vulgaris information.

36 photographs:
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