General description

Semi-deciduous, woody, evergreen shrub 2-3m tall. Sharp, single or 3-pronged spines along stems & spiny-toothed leaves. Small, unpleasant-smelling yellow flowers (spring) in numerous inflorescences. Small, purplish, oblong berries.

Tolerates a wide range of conditions. Seedlings shade tolerant. Escaped hedge plant. Farmland, former house sites, scrub & forest margins.

Seeds mainly dispersed by birds.

Reduces grazing area & replaces pasture. Very invasive in partly open scrub or forest.

Site management

Poor competitor for space so can be crowded out by planting. Prefers bare sites, therefore avoid non-selective spray use & maintain good pasture cover. Follow up 6-monthly or before regrowth reaches 1.5m.

Recommended approaches

1. Cut & stump paint (5g metsulfuron/1L or 50ml Tordon BK/1L).
2. Spray, summer - autumn, (100ml glyphosate/10L) or spring - autumn (5g metsulfuron/10L).

Caution: when using any herbicide or pesticide PLEASE READ THE LABEL THOROUGHLY to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed.

Similar species

Lycium ferocissimum

Boxthorn is a taller shrub with oblong leaves, white-mauve flowers and orange-red berries.

Crataegus monogyna

Hawthorn is a taller tree with multi-lobed triangular leaves, white-pink flowers and crimson berries.

Search tags

RPMS status

Surveillance - Whole Region
barberry - Main species image