This is a very large genus with hundreds of species and there is a lot of disagreement among taxonomists as to just how many Berberis and Mahonia (grape holly) species belong in which genus. They are native to many different temperate and tropical regions of the world.

The barberries are thorny shrubs, with alternate leaves (both deciduous and evergreen types), bright yellow (but not showy) flowers and red, yellow, blue or black fruits. The leaves of the evergreen types may resemble those of Ilex (Holly).

PGC-S-Berberis-thunbergii-Aurea-0lk5x-0001Generally, barberries are tolerant of a wide variety of soil and site conditions. They can take both sun and shade and have traditionally been used widely as a foundation plant.

Some (especially the common barberry, Berberis vulgaris) are not legal to plant because they act as an alternate host for the very destructive black stem rust disease of wheat. The species commonly used in the landscape are immune or highly resistant to this disease.

Berberis beaniana Bean's Barberry
B. buxifelia nana Dwarf Magellan Barberry
B. canadensis Canada Barberry
B. candidulai Paleleaf Barberry
B. x chenaultii Chenault Barberry
B. circumsenata Cutleaf Barberry
B. concinna Dainty Barberry
B. darwinii Darwin Barberry
B. gagnepainii Black Barberry
B. gilgiana Wildfire Barberry
B. julianae Wintergreen Barberry
B. koreana Korean Barberry
B. x mentorensis Mentor Barberry
B. prattii  
B. sargentiana Sargent Barberry
B. x steaophylla Rosemary Barberry
B. thunbergii Japanese Barberry
B. triacanthophora Three Spine Barberry
B. verruculosa Warty Barberry
B. vulgaris European Barberry


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