Japaneae Barberry

Berberis thunbergii

Family Berberidaceae

Notable Features
Leaves: Alternate* leaves small and ovate* with smooth edges; hairless. Leaves radiate from twigs in small, tight clusters; a single, sharp spike extends from the cluster as well, with a small leaf at its base.
Twigs: Twigs are smooth and dark brown, occasionally glossy.
Fruit/ Flowers: Small yellow flowers (less than 1/3 inch) appear in May, singly or in clusters of up to 4 blossoms. Small, ovular, bright red berries dangle from twigs in small clusters starting in mid-summer and usually staying through the winter.
Size/ Shape: A small, spiny shrub*, usually growing no more than 2 or 3 feet in height.

Location on Campus

(click for map)

Japanese Barberries grow in Sachar Woods as well as being used for ornamental purposes throughout campus. Most easily found next to the pathway leading along the western side of Usdan up toward Rabb steps.

Like the Common Barberry, the berries can be made into an excellent, tart jelly, or eaten as a cooked fruit. Also, to make a fine cold drink, the berries can be bruised, steeped in water, sweetened, and chilled.

Except where specifically noted, all text, photographs, and drawings copyright Chris Bersbach and Lisa Leombruni 2002. No part of this page may be reproduced without the express permission of the authors.