Virginia Tech Dendrology

Japanese barberry Berberidaceae Berberis thunbergii DC. Listen to the Latin symbol: BETH
Leaf: Alternate, simple, entire margin, spatulate or obovate, 1/2 to 1 1/2 inches long, bright green above, paler and somewhat glaucous below.
Flower: Pale yellow, 1/3 inch across, usually in small clusters, appearing in April to May.
Fruit: Shiny red, egg-shaped berry, 1/3 inch long, ripening in the fall and persisting into the next spring.
Twig: Slender, angled or grooved and zigzagged, brown, buds small, thorns at each node, yellow inner bark.
Bark: Gray-brown, finely shreddy.
Form: Small bush with a round dense crown, reaching several feet tall.
Looks like: American barberry
leaf flower fruit twig bark form1 map
Additional Range Information: Berberis thunbergii is planted in the USDA hardiness zones shown above and may seed into the landscape. See states reporting Japanese barberry.
External Links: USDA Plants Database - Horticulture Information
All material © 2017 Virginia Tech Dept. of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation; Photos and text by: John Seiler, Edward Jensen, Alex Niemiera, and John Peterson