Berberis thunbergii is part of the Barberry family of plants called Berberidaceae. It is native to Japan and Eastern Asia. They also call it the Japanese Barberry, Red Barberry, Purple Japanese Barberry, Red Leaf Japanese Barberry, or Thunberg’s Barberry.
The genus name “Berberis” is based on the name of the fruit in Arabic. And Thunbergii refers to Carl Peter Thunberg (1743-1828), a Swedish botanist who originally identified the plant in Japan in 1784,
Berberis thunbergii is a spiny, deciduous shrub. It grows to about 3ft or 1m tall. The branches are grooved and deep brown. The foliage is green. They turn red in autumn. The leaves are oval-shaped and appear in clusters. The flowers are pale yellow. They grow in spring. In autumn, the flowers turn into bright red fruits. The fruit is edible and contains one seed.
How to grow Berberis thunbergii:
Grow Berberis thunbergii in the sun. It tolerates partial shade. Plant it in average, dry to somewhat moist, but well-drained soil. Berberis thunbergii is tolerant of the urban environment. It attracts birds. The birds eat the berries and spread the seed. Berberis thunbergii has become invasive, in parts of the United States.
Berberis thunbergii is deer-resistant. It is generally disease-free and pest-free. Watch out for leaf spot, root rots, aphids, Barberry webworm, and scale. Propagate by semi-hardwood cuttings.