Common Barberry
Berberic vulgaris

Common Barberry- Click for Full Image

WARNING(S)
May be harmful in large amounts. See Notes.

Family
Berberidaceae

Description
Approximately 2.7 (9ft) branching, spiny shrub with gray bark. Leaves are alternate or arranged in rosettes. Leaves are flat, ovaloid, and have many spiny teeth. Flowers are present April through June. Fruits are red and berry-like. Root bark is yellow.

Location
Widely planted as an ornamental shrub. Grows in the wild throughout New England.

Uses and Parts Used

Fruits
Fruit tea used as an appetite stimulant, diuretic, expectorant, laxative, and itch-relief.

Root
Root tea used as an astringent and antiseptic as well as to treat jaundice, hepatitis, fever, and diarrhea. Root tincture used for arthritis and rheumatism.

Leaves
Leaf tea used for coughs.

Notes
Contains compounds berberine and berbamine which have antibacterial and white blood cell increasing activities, respectively. May be harmful in large doses.

Common Barberry- Click for Full Image
Common Barberry- Click for Full Image
Common Barberry- Click for Full Image
Common Barberry- Leaf and Thorn