Barberry
Invasive Species Information

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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?

Barberry - Berberis vulgaris ID Guide V4.gif

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.

Barberry - Berberis vulgaris ID Guide

Biodiversity Medium Risk 14

Barberry spines

Biodiversity Medium Risk 14

Barberry Flowers

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.

  1. American Skunk-CabbageLysichiton americanus

  2. Brazilian Giant-RhubarbGunnera manicata

  3. Broad-Leaved RushJuncus planifolius

  4. Cape PondweedAponogeton distachyos

  5. Cord-GrassesSpartina (all species and hybrids)

  6. Curly Waterweed - Lagarosiphon major

  7. Dwarf Eel-GrassZostera japonica

  8. FanwortCabomba caroliniana

  9. Floating PennywortHydrocotyle ranunculoides

  10. Fringed Water-LilyNymphoides peltata

  11. Giant HogweedHeracleum mantegazzianum

  12. Giant KnotweedFallopia sachalinensis

  13. Giant-RhubarbGunnera tinctoria

  14. Giant SalviniaSalvinia molesta

  15. Himalayan BalsamImpatiens glandulifera

  16. Himalayan KnotweedPersicaria wallichii

  17. Hottentot-FigCarpobrotus edulis

  18. Japanese KnotweedFallopia japonica

  19. Large-Flowered WaterweedEgeria densa

  20. Mile-a-Minute WeedPersicaria perfoliata

  21. New Zealand PigmyweedCrassula helmsii

  22. Parrots FeatherMyriophyllum aquaticum

  23. Red AlgaGrateloupia doryphora

  24. RhododendronRhododendron ponticum

  25. SalmonberryRubus spectabilis

  26. Sea-Buckthorn Hippophae rhamnoides

  27. Spanish Bluebell Hyacinthoides hispanica

  28. Three-Cornered LeekAllium triquetrum

  29. WakameUndaria pinnatifida

  30. Water ChestnutTrapa natans

  31. Water FernAzolla filiculoides

  32. Water LettucePistia stratiotes

  33. Water-PrimroseLudwigia (all species)

  34. WaterweedsElodea (all species)

  35. WireweedSargassum muticum

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

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