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You are here: Home / Plants / Species Profiles / Japanese barberry
Species Profiles

Japanese Barberry

Japanese barberry - Invasive.orgScientific name: Berberis thunbergii DC. (ITIS)

Common names: Japanese barberry

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Selected Resources

Native To: Japan (Zouhar 2008)

Date of U.S. Introduction: 1875 (DeGasperis et al. 2007)

Means of Introduction: Introduced as an ornamental and promoted as a replacement for common barberry (Berberis vulgaris), which is a host for black stem rust (Zouhar 2008)

Impact: Forms dense stands that compete with native trees and herbaceous plants (Ward et al. 2009)

Current U.S. Distribution: Eastern and Midwestern U.S.


Selected Resources:

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Council or Task Force

Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council Invasive Plant Manual - Japanese Barberry
Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council.


Invasive Plant Atlas of New England (IPANE) - Japanese barberry
University of Georgia. Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health.

Invasive Plant Atlas of the United States - Japanese barberry
University of Georgia. Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health.

Invasive Species Compendium - Berberis thunbergii
CAB International.

Global Invasive Species Database - Berberis thunbergii (shrub)
IUCN. Species Survival Commission. Invasive Species Specialist Group.

Invaders Factsheet: Japanese Barberry
Ontario's Invading Species Awareness Program (Canada).

Federal Government

U.S. National Plant Germplasm System - Berberis thunbergii
USDA. ARS. National Genetic Resources Program. GRIN-Global.

Fire Effects Information System (FEIS) - Berberis thunbergii
USDA. FS. Rocky Mountain Research Station. Fire Sciences Laboratory.

PLANTS Database - Japanese Barberry
USDA. NRCS. National Plant Data Center.

State Government

Invasive Species Best Control Practices - Japanese Barberry (2012; PDF | 334 KB)
Michigan Department of Natural Resource; Michigan State University Extension. Michigan Natural Features Inventory.
See also: Best Control Practice Guides for more guides

Invasive Terrestrial Plants: Japanese Barberry (Berberis thunbergii)
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Fact Sheet: Japanese Barberry (Berberis thunbergii) (2014; PDF | 249 KB)
New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, Markets, and Food. Division of Plant Industry.
See also: New Hampshire's Prohibited Invasive Plant Fact Sheets for additional invasive trees, shrubs, vines, and herbaceous plants

Invasive Plants in Pennsylvania: Japanese and European Barberry (PDF | 229 KB)
Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
See also: Invasive Plant Fact Sheets for plant species (trees, shrubs, vines, herbs and aquatic plants) that have impacted the state's natural lands

Japanese Barberry (Berberis thunbergii)
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.


Maine Invasive Plants Bulletin: Japanese Barberry
University of Maine. Cooperative Extension.
See also: Maine Invasive Plants & Entire Series for entire series of 22 fact sheets and invasive plants brochure (available in HTML/PDF or for purchase)

Introduced Species Summary Project - Japanese Barberry
Columbia University. Center for Environmental Research and Conservation.

Invasive, Exotic Plants of the Southeast - Japanese Barberry
North Carolina State University. Cooperative Extension. Going Native: Urban Landscaping for Wildlife with Native Plants.

Invasive Plant Fact Sheet - Japanese Barberry (Nov 2011; PDF | 164 KB)
University of Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Flora Project of Morris Arboretum.
See also: Invasive Plant Fact Sheets for additional invasive plants in Pennsylvania

Invasive Plants and Insects: Japanese Barberry
Pennsylvania State University. Cooperative Extension.


DeGasperis, B.G., and G. Motzkin. 2007. Windows of opportunity: historical and ecological controls on Berberis thunbergii invasions. Ecology 88(12):3115-3125.

Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Berberis thunbergii. [Accessed Sep 10, 2014].

Ward, J.S., T.E. Worthley, and S.C. Williams. 2009. Controlling Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii DC) in southern New England, USA. Forest Ecology and Management 257(2): 561-566.

Zouhar, K. 2008. Berberis thunbergii. In: Fire Effects Information System. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory.

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Last Modified: Aug 25, 2018
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