Berberidaceae (weeds)

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Berberis thunbergii (click on image to enlarge it)
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Berberidaceae - Berberis (weeds) - (barberry family)

The barberry family includes around 750 species, mainly shrubs, but also some trees and some herbs. More than 500 species are assigned to the genus Berberis, many of these are found in eastern Asia, the Himalayas and the Andes regions. Barberry (Berberis) species are shrubs or small trees. The leaf margins are spiny and the twigs have thorns. Some fruits are eaten, but others are poisonous.

Several species of Berberis are cultivated as garden plants and some have become invasive outside their native range. For example, Berberis thunbergii is native to eastern Asia and has been introduced as an ornamental shrub into various regions. It has become invasive in eastern North America, competing with native plants. Berberis vulgaris is an important alternate host of Puccinia graminis, causing the cereal disease stem rust.


The following species are currently entered under the genus Berberis: