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Common Name: Common Barberry

Scientific Name: Berberidaceae

Habitat: Dry Forest edges, Ornamental

Provincial Designation: Prohibited Noxious

Prohibited Noxious weeds are plant species that are designated as "prohibited noxious" in the Alberta weed regulation. Prohibited noxious weeds must be destroyed, meaning all growing parts need to be killed or the plant's reproductive mechanisms need to be rendered non-viable.


Common barberry originates from Europe and Asia and was introduced to North America as early as the 17th century. It has been used as a dye, in jam and as an ornamental shrub for hedgerows.

Legislated Because

It is legislated because it is a host for cereal stem rust and, as such, it poses a serious threat to cereal crops. When it escapes from cultivation it can invade wooded areas.


Common barberry is an erect, deciduous shrub that grows up to 3 m tall. Its yellow flowers are arranged in 2-6 cm long drooping clusters and appear in early summer.

The simple leaves are a dull light green colour with toothed edges. The fruits are about 1 cm long red berries.

Typically, this shrub has three pronged thorns.

Learn more about this species:

See Fact Sheet - Alberta Invasive Species Council

For More Information

Weed Identification


In Edmonton: 311

Outside Edmonton: 780-442-5311


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