Plantae > Tracheophyta > Magnoliopsida > Ranunculales > Berberidaceae > Berberis > Berberis thunbergii

Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry; Crimson pygmy)

Synonyms: Berberis thunbergii f. grandiflora; Berberis thunbergii f. microcarpa; Berberis thunbergii f. obovata; Berberis thunbergii f. trispinosa; Berberis thunbergii var. argenteomarginata; Berberis thunbergii var. atropurpurea; Berberis thunbergii var. erecta; Berberis thunbergii var. minor; Berberis thunbergii var. pluriflora; Berberis thunbergii var. uniflora

Wikipedia Abstract

Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry,Thunberg's barberry, or Red barberry) is a species of Berberis, native to Japan and eastern Asia, though widely naturalized in China and in North America.
View Wikipedia Record: Berberis thunbergii

Invasive Species

Berberis thunbergii is a shrub native to Japan. When introduced it can invade a variety of habitats from damp lowlands to dry roadsides and waste places. This species forms dense stands in a variety of these habitats, including closed canopy forests and open woodlands, wetlands, pastures and meadows. Berberis thunbergii is highly shade-tolerant and displaces a variety of native herb and shrub species in areas where it becomes well established. Manual hand-pulling is a favoured method of control as the species is easily unearthed. Chemical and mechanical methods are also often employed, depending on site conditions.
View ISSG Record: Berberis thunbergii


Height [3]  6.6 feet (2 m)
Width [3]  9.8 feet (3 m)
Allergen Potential [1]  Medium-Low
Screening - Summer [2]  Dense
Screening - Winter [2]  Porous
Hardiness Zone Minimum [2]  USDA Zone: 4 Low Temperature: -30 F° (-34.4 C°) → -20 F° (-28.9 C°)
Light Preference [2]  Full Sun
Soil Acidity [2]  Neutral
Soil Fertility [2]  Infertile
Water Use [2]  Moderate
Flower Color [2]  Yellow
Foliage Color [2]  Dark Green
Fruit Color [2]  Red
Fall Conspicuous [2]  Yes
Flower Conspicuous [2]  Yes
Fruit Conspicuous [2]  Yes
Bloom Period [2]  Late Spring
Drought Tolerance [2]  Low
Edible [3]  May be edible. See the Plants For A Future link below for details.
Fire Tolerance [2]  None
Flower Type [3]  Hermaphrodite
Frost Free Days [2]  6 months
Fruit/Seed Abundance [2]  High
Fruit/Seed Begin [2]  Summer
Fruit/Seed End [2]  Winter
Growth Form [2]  Multiple Stem
Growth Period [2]  Spring, Summer
Growth Rate [2]  Moderate
Leaf Type [3]  Deciduous
Lifespan [2]  Perennial
Pollinators [3]  Insects, Lepidoptera
Propagation [2]  Bare Root, Container, Cutting, Seed
Root Depth [2]  18 inches (46 cm)
Seed Spread Rate [2]  Moderate
Seed Vigor [2]  Medium
Seeds Per [2]  27040 / lb (59613 / kg)
Shape/Orientation [2]  Rounded
Structure [3]  Shrub
Usage [3]  Plants can be grown as a medium-size hedge; They are very tolerant of trimming and have prickles which make them an effective barrier to larger creatures; The cultivar 'Atropurpurea Nana' can be used for ground cover; It makes a dense covering when planted 30cm apart each way; A yellow dye is obtained from the root and branches;
Vegetative Spread Rate [2]  Slow
View Plants For A Future Record : Berberis thunbergii

Protected Areas

Name IUCN Category Area acres Location Species Website Climate Land Use
Acadia National Park II 35996 Maine, United States
Allegheny Portage Railroad Nat'l Hist. Site National Historic Site III 1152 Pennsylvania, United States
Blue Ridge Parkway National Parkway V 73611 North Carolina, Virginia, United States
Chickamauga & Chattanooga Nat'l Military Park National Military Park V 8248 Georgia, Tennessee, United States
Chippewa Nature Center   Michigan, United States    
Colonial National Historic Park National Historical Park V 9316 Virginia, United States
Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory LTER Site Long Term Ecological Research   North Carolina, United States
Edwin S. George Reserve 1297 Michigan, United States
Fort Necessity National Battlefield III 1019 Pennsylvania, United States
Friendship Hill National Historic Site III 697 Pennsylvania, United States
Gateway National Recreation Area V 1807 New Jersey, United States
Gettysburg National Military Park V 3560 Pennsylvania, United States
Great Smoky Mountains National Park II 515454 North Carolina, Tennessee, United States
Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge VI 3161 New Jersey, United States
Hope College Biology Nature Preserve 55 Michigan, United States
Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site III 861 Pennsylvania, United States
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore II 8272 Indiana, United States
Johnstown Flood National Memorial VI 175 Pennsylvania, United States
Mammoth Cave Area Biosphere Reserve (Natn'l Park) National Park II 51235 Kentucky, United States
Point Pelee National Park II 5764 Ontario, Canada
Richmond National Battlefield Park III 1517 Virginia, United States
Rondeau Provincial Park II 5035 Ontario, Canada
Saint Lawrence Islands National Park II   Ontario, Canada
Southern Appalachian Biosphere Reserve 37548505 North Carolina, Tennessee, United States  
Valley Forge National Historical Park VI 3509 Pennsylvania, United States
Western Michigan University's Asylum Lake Preserve 274 Michigan, United States


Attacus atlas (Atlas moth)[4]
Attacus taprobanis[4]
Ceroplastes pseudoceriferus (Indian wax scale)[5]
Pareulype berberata (Barberry carpet moth)[6]
Rheumaptera cervinalis (Scarce Tissue)[4]
Syrmaticus soemmerringii (Copper Pheasant)[7]


Pollinated by 
Apis mellifera (honey bee)[8]


Parasitized by 
Erysiphe berberidis[8]


North America; Western Michigan University’s Asylum Lake;



Attributes / relations provided by
1Derived from Allergy-Free Gardening OPALS™, Thomas Leo Ogren (2000)
2USDA Plants Database, U. S. Department of Agriculture
3Plants For A Future licensed under a Creative Commons License
4HOSTS - a Database of the World's Lepidopteran Hostplants Gaden S. Robinson, Phillip R. Ackery, Ian J. Kitching, George W. Beccaloni AND Luis M. Hernández
5Ben-Dov, Y., Miller, D.R. & Gibson, G.A.P. ScaleNet 4 November 2009
6Biological Records Centre Database of Insects and their Food Plants
7Food habits of the copper pheasant Syrmaticus soemmerringii in winter season, Noritomo KAWAJI and Jun YOKOYAMA, (Bulletin of FFPRI) Vol.8 No.2 (No.411) 127 - 132 June 2009
8Jorrit H. Poelen, James D. Simons and Chris J. Mungall. (2014). Global Biotic Interactions: An open infrastructure to share and analyze species-interaction datasets. Ecological Informatics.
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Abstract provided by DBpedia licensed under a Creative Commons License
Weather provided by NOAA METAR Data Access