Also known as
Berberis aristata, Berberis vulgaris
Where is it originally from?
What does it look like?
Evergreen or semi-deciduous, spiny, yellow-wooded shrub (<4-5 m). Tough, woody steams have yellowish-grey bark and very sharp, hard, single or three pronged spines (<23 mm long) where the leaves meet the stem. Leathery leaves (25-75 x 10-25 mm) with usually serrated edges often turn reddish in autumn. Clusters (<6 cm long) of smelly yellow flowers (5-7 mm, Oct-Nov) are followed by oval, reddish-black berries (7-12 mm) with a dusty white look to them and dark red juice (Mar-May).
Are there any similar species?
European barberry (Berberis vulgaris) has red berries. Darwin's barberry (B. darwinii) is similar but has bright orange flowers.
Why is it weedy?
Long-lived and produces long-lived, well-dispersed seeds. Tolerates hot to cool temperatures, damp to dry conditions, high wind, salt, little shade, damage (not grazed) and many soil types.
How does it spread?
Variable production of viable seed, from large amounts to none. Birds and possibly possums eat berries and spread the seeds, which are also spread by soil and water movement. Seed sources include farm hedges, roadsides, old homesteads, and plantation forest.
What damage does it do?
Scattered plants (occasionally dense stands), replace native species.
Which habitats is it likely to invade?
Disturbed forest and shrubland, short tussockland, and bare and stony land.
What can I do to get rid of it?
1. Stump swab (all year round): metsulfuron-methyl 600g/kg (5g/L) or a product containing 100g picloram+300g triclopyr/L (300ml/L).
2. Cut and squirt (all year round): 1g metsulfuron-methyl 600g/kg per 100mm of trunk.
3. Injection method: drill holes sloping into the sapwood at regular intervals around the tree and apply glyphosate (250ml/L) into holes.
4. Spray (spring-autumn only): glyphosate (150ml/15L (knapsack) or (1L/100L (spraygun)) or metsulfuron-methyl 600g/kg (7.5g/15L (knapsack) or 35g/100L (spraygun)) or a product containing 100g picloram+300g triclopyr/L (90ml/15L (knapsack) or 500ml/100L (spraygun)).
What can I do to stop it coming back?
Cut stumps resprout quickly, can be hard to kill. Seed bank reinfests bared areas so avoid non-selective spray use. Poor competitor for space, can be crowded out by planting. Follow up 6-monthly.