Photo and description of the barberry ordinary (Berberis vulgaris)


The barberry is one of the representatives of the shrubs of the family Barberry, including about 600 species. This southern plant has long been adapted to life in temperate regions, where it is cultivated as a source of medicinal berries, as well as an ornamental plant used in various types of landscape design.

Description of barberry ordinary

Homeland plants are South-West Asia. At present, the natural range includes, in addition to the Arabian Peninsula, Asia Minor, the Caucasus, and Southeast Europe. A plant in the wild prefers edges, slopes and small lawns; in general, these are areas protected from the wind, but exposed to the sun.

The name of the barberry common in Latin is Berberis vulgaris. This is a fairly tall plant (up to 250 cm), which is a shrub with very strong and woody rhizomes. The plant outside covers the light brown bark, the inner side of which has a bright yellow color unusual for the plant. The roots of the plant are creeping, consisting of several large rhizomes.

Shoots are upright, almost no inclination. On some shoots there is a well pronounced ribbing. The color of the shoots is yellowish or purple. Shoots have a kind of "specialization", depending on the length. Leaves are formed on the shortened shoots. On elongated shoots instead of leaves spines are formed.

The leaves of the plant are alternate, rather thin, mostly having an elliptical shape. Their length reaches 4 cm, and the width is about 2 times smaller. Closer to the base of the leaves narrow wedge. The top of the sheet mostly have a rounded shape, in rare cases - pointed. The spines have a complex shape - usually they are 3 or 5 separate. Their length reaches 2 cm.

The color of the leaves of barberry, even within a single species can vary significantly - from bright green to different shades of yellow or red. Some subspecies may change their color during the season, which is used in landscape design.

The photo of common barberry is presented below:

How does the barberry blossom?

Shrub barberry ordinary blooms in late April or early May, depending on weather conditions: the warmer the weather, the earlier flowering begins. The flowering period lasts about a month. Pollination is carried out by insects. The plant belongs to monoecious ones, however, for a larger number of fruits, cross-pollination and the presence of at least 2-3 plants in a garden at a distance of not more than 30 m from each other are recommended.

The flowers of the plant are yellow, small in size (6-10 mm in diameter). Each flower consists of six sepals and petals. The flowers are collected in clusters of "brush". Each brush includes from one and a half to three dozen flowers. The length of the inflorescence is about 60 mm.

Flowers are arranged as follows: at the base is a nectary, orange in color, a large pistil is surrounded by 6 stamens, located on the side opposite to the petals.

The fruits of the plant ripen for a relatively long time - after setting, it takes at least two months before the ellipsoid berries appear, which change their color to bright red or, rarely, purple for a month. The seeds of the plant are short and flattened, having up to 7 mm length.

Use in landscape design

Ornamental trees and bushes of barberry ordinary find wide application in landscape design. You can even say that this plant is used almost everywhere. It is included in the design of the following elements and groups:

  • Alpine slides or rockeries;
  • as freestanding landscape elements;
  • as a central element of group landing;
  • for framing lawns or flower beds;
  • for the formation of fences;
  • for registration of perimeters of beds;
  • to create high curbs, etc.

It is believed that the rock garden - the most optimal place for planting barberry. Moreover, they use both plants of average height (up to 1.5-2 m) and dwarf varieties (not more than 0.5 m in height). In one case, the barberry is the pinnacle of the composition, and in the latter case it is used as a transitional element, softening too much difference in the growth of certain plants.

The use of barberry in rock gardens is also due to its excellent combination with other plants, in particular, with conifers. In addition, a wide palette of leaves allows you to perfectly combine it with other representatives of the fauna. In autumn, most barberry varieties change their color and can preserve leaves for quite a long time, while maintaining the overall decorative effect of the entire composition.

Using a barberry as a curb or a hedge, it is possible to protect the lawn or flowerbed from unwanted guests. Dense thickets of this shrub create an almost insurmountable barrier for both bipeds and quadrupeds of the garden.

Barberry hedge can be both natural and regularly cut. The plant tolerates pruning perfectly and can be used to make almost any form of obstruction. The use of such design elements can turn a garden or some of its corner into a secluded place, hidden from prying eyes.

For small gardens, it will be very practical to use a barberry in the form of a single planting as a separate plant. Since the variety of forms of a plant bush or its color is very large, such a design will perfectly fit into any design.

A well-grown shrub will look very organic in virtually any garden design style. Small in size inflorescences, in large quantities covering the shoots of the plant, will not leave anyone indifferent. Despite the love of barberry to sunny areas, its single landing can also be carried out in partial shade. Usually, in an open area, barberry ordinary purple is planted with variegated shades of leaves, bushes with green or dark green foliage are planted in the shade or partial shade.

The barberry is perfectly combined with various plants that provides its use in various beds or mixborders. A change in the color of the leaves depending on the season gives an even greater variety of decorative solutions.

So the barberry is well along with lilac, jasmine or wisteria. From autumn flowers, he gets along perfectly with asters, chrysanthemums or September. Combining various plants, taking into account their growth and other features, it is possible to create very interesting compositions in which the emphasis at different times of the year will be chained to various members of the flowerbed population.

What is made of ordinary barberry

The berries of barberry ordinary have a sweet taste with a barely noticeable sourness. Of these, mainly various sweets are prepared:

  • preserves;
  • jams;
  • jelly;
  • marmalade.

Also from the berries of barberry get various juices, syrups and nectars.

Attention! Unripe barberry berries contain a large amount of toxic alkaloids and can be poisonous to humans.

In addition, the barberry is included in many recipes of traditional and classical medicine. For medical purposes, apply not only its berries, but also leaves, roots and bark. The main diseases in the treatment of which products from barberry can be used:

  • liver and kidney disease;
  • gallbladder disease;
  • various pathologies of the stomach and intestines;
  • oral diseases;
  • eye disease;
  • diseases of the cardiovascular system;
  • diseases of the organs of vision;
  • scurvy;
  • tuberculosis.

In addition, use barberry as a component for a large range of homeopathic medicines.

Planting and caring for the barberry ordinary

Caring for ordinary barberries is extremely simple and does not require serious skills from a gardener. The main thing - it is impossible to prevent its excessive growth or thickening. The growth rate of barberry is moderate, so the crown will have to be formed almost every season.

Preparation of seedlings and planting area

Growing barberries is best done on a sunny plot, shade or partial shade is a compromise. Nevertheless, the plant will feel nice and there, but the rate of growth will be somewhat lower.

Important! It will be in sunny areas that there will be a change in the color of the foliage of the plant, depending on the season. Plants growing in the shade will have a predominantly dark green foliage.

Barberry prefers light soils with an average degree of moisture. However, it can be grown in any soil. It is advisable to use dry soils, since the plant tolerates drought better than waterlogging.

Landing rules

Landing is best done in early autumn or late spring. Seedlings must contain at least 4 buds on each shoot. Landing is carried out in such a way that the distance between the bushes is from 50 cm to 1 m.

On poor soils, complex fertilizer is applied to the wells for ornamental garden plants, which contains the entire necessary set of trace elements: nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus.

Watering and feeding

Watering is done exclusively as the soil dries. This usually happens 1 time in 15-20 days.

The first dressing is done in the second year after planting. It consists of nitrogenous fertilizers (urea at a concentration of 0.2% in the amount of 10 liters per bush). In the same season, mulch bushes are made in the late fall with a layer of peat. In subsequent years, this procedure is repeated.


Pruning consists of sanitary and formative. Sanitary spend in the early spring. Its technology is standard: remove dry, diseased and damaged branches. Also with her clean shoots growing "inside" the bush.

Formative pruning is carried out, depending on the chosen role of the plant in landscape design. It is made twice per season, usually in early summer and early autumn. The "format" of trimming and its intensity depend on the selected form of the shrub and its place in the overall composition.

Preparing for the winter

The ordinary barberry is able to tolerate frosts up to -45 ° C, therefore it does not need preparation for winter. Even young plants perfectly tolerate the most severe winters without additional shelter.


Barberry grows in standard ways:

  • division of the bush;
  • using cuttings;
  • layering;
  • offspring;
  • seeds.

There are no particular preferences, but it is believed that the barberry is preferable to propagate by layering or cuttings.

Diseases and pests

Barberry rather unpretentious and easy to cope with the disease itself. The only problem that a gardener can face is powdery mildew. Struggle with it by repeated spraying of the plant with a solution of colloidal sulfur until the symptoms disappear.

Of the pests should be noted barberry aphid, which, attacking the leaves of the plant, leads to its drying. This parasite is small in size and it is quite problematic to detect it, so you should regularly inspect the underside of the leaves. As a means of dealing with aphids it is recommended to use a soap solution at a concentration of 0.3%.


Barberry ordinary, due to its decorative properties, is widely used in landscape design of gardens, villas and garden plots. This plant can be used in various combinations with other and tolerates a cold climate.