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Barberry

Invasive Species Information

Biodiversity Medium Risk 14

What Is Barberry - (Berberis vulgaris)?

Habitat: Terrestrial
Distribution in Ireland: Eradicated

Status: Eradicated

Family name:

Common name/s: Common barberry, European barberry

Reproduction: Common barberry flowers are perfect and primarily insect pollinated. Nectaries occur at the base of flower petals, and bees, wasps, ants, flies, and beetles are common pollinators . Although cross pollination by insects is most common, 3 of 30 inflorescences produced fruits when protected from insects

Arching branches which come into contact with the soil can produce new plants.

Biodiversity Medium Risk 14

Barberry fruit

Biodiversity Medium Risk 14

Barberry bloom and leaves

Berberis vulgaris is a deciduous shrub that can reach 4 m in height.

Common barberry root and rhizome growth is often extensive. Surrounding the common barberry root crown is a "thick mass of fibrous roots". Large lateral roots occur several inches to more than a foot under ground. Lateral roots may be 2.5-5 cm in diameter near the root crown and extend 3-4.6 m from the root crown.

Common barberry root growth varies with site conditions. Shrubs in sandy, loose-textured soils produced long lateral roots.

 

Shrubs growing on gentle slopes with deep loam soils did not produce long tap roots.

How To Identify Barberry?

Biodiversity Medium Risk 14

Barberry Flowers

Leaf: The leaves are oval, 2-5 cm long, 1-2 cm wide, serrate and occur in clusters of 2-5. Each cluster of leaves is subtended by a short, three-branched spine.  
Flower: small, yellow, less than 6 mm wide flowers develop in dangling racemes.
Fruit: Berries are red ellipsoids which are less than 10 mm in length and contain 1-3 small seeds.

Smell: Flowers have an unpleasant odor.

Biodiversity Medium Risk 14

Barberry spines

Biodiversity Medium Risk 14

Barberry seeds

Why Is Barberry A Problem?

Barberry is an alien (non-native) invasive plant, meaning it out-competes crowds-out and displaces beneficial native plants that have been naturally growing in Ireland for centuries.

 

Berberis vulgaris is shade tolerant which allows it to easily invade woodlands. It is also an alternate host for wheat rust (Puccinia graminis) which makes the control and removal of this invasive shrub of primary importance. As an alternate host, common barberry can support the development of new genotypes able to attack rust-resistant crops. Wheat rust (Puccinia graminis) can severely reduce the yield of wheat, oat, and barley crops.

European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011 non-native invasive plant species A-Z (Updated 2017)

There are currently 35 invasive plant species listed in the European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations (annex 2, Part 1)...

 

Click on a species from the following list to find out more regarding non-native species subject to restrictions under Regulations 49 and 50.

Additional Non-Native Plant Species identified as Medium Risk on Ireland's Biodiversity List...

Common name 

African woodsorrel

American skunk cabbage

Annual bur-sage

Antithamnionella ternifolia

Barberry

Black currant

Brazilian waterweed

Butterfly-bush

Canadian-fleabane

Clover broomrape

Creeping Bellflower

Dead man's fingers

Douglas fir

Early goldenrod

False acacia

Field penny-cress

Garden lupin

Giant rhubarb

Hairy rocket

Himalayan honeysuckle

Himalayan knotweed

Holm oak

Japanese barberry

Japanese honeysuckle

Japanese rose

Leafy spurge

Least duckweed

Narrow-leaved ragwort

New Zealand bur

Ostrich fern

Pampas grass

Pitcherplant

Red oak

Red sheath tunicate

Rock cotoneaster

Rum cherry

Russian-vine

Salmonberry

Sea-buckthorn

Sycamore

Three-cornered garlic

Traveler's-joy

Tree of heaven

Turkey oak

Virginia-creeper

Warty cabbage

Water fern

Wild parsnip

Environment 

Terrestrial

Terrestrial

Terrestrial

Marine

Terrestrial 

Terrestrial

Freshwater

Terrestrial 

Terrestrial 

Terrestrial 

Terrestrial 

Marine 

Terrestrial 

Terrestrial 

Terrestrial 

Terrestrial 

Terrestrial

Terrestrial

Terrestrial 

Terrestrial

Terrestrial

Terrestrial 

Terrestrial 

Terrestrial 

Terrestrial

Terrestrial 

Freshwater 

Terrestrial 

Terrestrial 

Terrestrial 

Terrestrial  

Terrestrial 

Terrestrial 

Marine 

Terrestrial 

Terrestrial 

Terrestrial

Terrestrial

Terrestrial

Terrestrial 

Terrestrial

Terrestrial 

Terrestrial 

Terrestrial 

Terrestrial 

Terrestrial 

Freshwater 

Terrestrial

Risk score 

14

15

17

15

14

14

17

17

14

17

16

16

15

14

17

17

17

16

17

14

16

14

14

15

14

16

14

16

14

14

14

14

14

14

14

17

14

14

14

15

15

17

17

14

16

15

14

15