This is a very large genus with hundreds of
species and there is a lot of disagreement among
taxonomists as to just how may of both
Mahonia (grape holly) species belong in
this genus. They are native to many different
tropical regions of the world.
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 that of Ilex (Holly).
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 planting.
the common barberry, Berberis vulgaris) are not legal to plant because they
act as an alternate host for the very
destructive black stem rust of wheat. The
species commonly used in the landscape are immune or
highly resistant to this disease.