Common Barberry

Berberis vulgaris

Family Berberidaceae

Notable Features
Leaves: Leaves ovate*, originating from alternate whorls*, finely toothed* and papery-feeling. A dusty dark green.
Bark: Bark a dark brown; interior wood yellow. Thorns* protrude from the sides of the branches, with two smaller modified branches surrounding each thorn.
Fruit/ Flowers: Clusters of five petaled, light yellow flowers appear along the branches in early summer, followed by clusters of dark red, juicy, dangling, ovular berries, which appear and remain August through early spring.
Size/ Shape: A woody, flowering and fruiting shrub* that grows up to 10 feet (3 meters) in height. Found in thickets, throughout woodland areas, and forest peripheries.

Location on Campus

(click for map)

In wooded area behind the Charles River Apartments, and next to the cement walkway leading between Slosberg and the Shapiro Student Center.

The berries can be made into an excellent tart jelly, cooked, or eaten raw. Also, the berries can be bruised in water, steeped, sweetened, and consumed as a cold drink.

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.