Herbs & Plants

Berberis chinensis

Botanical Name: Berberis chinensis
Family: Berberidaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ranunculales
Genus: Berberis

*Berberis iberica
*Berberis serotina
*Berberis sinensis

Common Names: Common barberry, European barberry or simply Barberry.

Habitat: Berberis chinensis is native to the Caucasus. It grows on the sandy mountain slopes and river sands.The shrubs prefer a sunny to half-shady situation on moderately moist soil. The substrate should be sandy loam, gritty loam or sandy clay. The plants tolerate temperatures down to -23°C.

Berberis chinensis is a deciduous Shrub. It grows 2.5 to 3 metres in height. Leaves are simple and alternate. It
produces brilliant greenish yellow cup-shaped flowers in May to July
. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Insects. The plant is self-fertile.The shrubs produce berries.

Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.


Prefers a warm moist loamy soil and light shade but is by no means fastidious, succeeding in thin, dry and shallow soils. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Plants are hardy to about -25°c. Plants can be pruned back quite severely, they resprout well from the base. This species is closely related to B. poiretii. C.K.Schn., differing in its broader leaves and dark red fruits. The range of this plant is often mistakenly given as the Caucasus, this is based on a misidentification. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus.

Through seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame, when it should germinate in late winter or early spring. Seed from over-ripe fruit will take longer to germinate, whilst stored seed may require cold stratification and should be sown in a cold frame as early in the year as possible. The seedlings are subject to damping off, so should be kept well ventilated. When the seedlings are large enough to handle, prick them out into individual pots and grow them on in a cold frame. If growth is sufficient, it can be possible to plant them out into their permanent positions in the autumn, but generally it is best to leave them in the cold frame for the winter and plant them out in late spring or early summer of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Cuttings of mature wood of the current season’s growth, preferably with a heel, October/November in a frame

Edible Uses: Fruits are edible eaten -cooked or raw.

Medicinal Uses:
Berberine, universally present in rhizomes of Berberis species, has marked antibacterial effects. Since it is not appreciably absorbed by the body, it is used orally in the treatment of various enteric infections, especially bacterial dysentery. It should not be used with Glycyrrhiza species (Liquorice) because this nullifies the effects of the berberine. Berberine has also shown antitumour activity.

Other Uses: A yellow dye is obtained from the root.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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