An official website of the United States government.

The .gov means it’s official.
Federal government websites always use a .gov or .mil domain. Before sharing sensitive information online, make sure you’re on a .gov or .mil site by inspecting your browser’s address (or “location”) bar.

This site is also protected by an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate that’s been signed by the U.S. government. The https:// means all transmitted data is encrypted — in other words, any information or browsing history that you provide is transmitted securely.

Japanese Barberry

View all resources
Japanese barberry - Invasive.org
Japanese barberry, foliage in April - Photo by James H. Miller; USDA, Forest Service
Scientific Name: 
Berberis thunbergii DC. (ITIS)
Common Name: 
Japanese barberry
Native To: 
Japan (Zouhar 2008)
Date of U.S. Introduction: 
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.

Spotlights

Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.

The PA Department of Agriculture added Japanese Barberry, or Berberis thunbergii, to a list of noxious weeds — plants that cannot be legally sold or cultivated in the state. The popular, non-native, ornamental shrub forms dense, prickly thickets that crowd out plants and disrupt native ecosystems. It is also thought to harbor black-legged ticks that spread lyme disease. The ban on sale and cultivation took effect October 8, 2021. Enforcement of the ban will be phased in over two years to allow time for nurseries to eliminate it from their stock, find non-harmful alternatives, and develop seedless, sterile varieties that pose less threat to the environment and agriculture. Landscape and nursery businesses will receive notices of the timeline, procedures and exemption process for sterile varieties. Property owners should consider eliminating the shrubs on their land.

Effective October 8, 2021, the department added two other plants to the noxious weed list: garlic mustard, Alliaria petiolata, and Japanese stiltgrass, Microstegium vimineum. These plants are generally not sold in nurseries but are invasive and common in Pennsylvania. Landowners with these plants on their property are encouraged to remove them.

Distribution / Maps / Survey Status

University of Georgia. Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health.
Provides state, county, point and GIS data. Maps can be downloaded and shared.

Images

University of Georgia. Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health.

Videos

Google. YouTube; University of Minnesota Extension.

Selected Resources

The section below contains highly relevant resources for this species, organized by source. Or, to display all related content view all resources for Japanese Barberry.

Council or Task Force
Partnership
IUCN. Species Survival Commission. Invasive Species Specialist Group.

Ontario's Invading Species Awareness Program (Canada).

University of Georgia. Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health.

Woody Invasives of the Great Lakes Collaborative.

Federal Government
USDA. FS. Rocky Mountain Research Station. Fire Sciences Laboratory.
USDA. NRCS. National Plant Data Center.

USDA. ARS. National Genetic Resources Program. GRIN-Global.

State and Local Government
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
Michigan Department of Natural Resource; Michigan State University Extension. Michigan Natural Features Inventory.
See also: Best Control Practice Guides for more guides

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

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Academic
University of Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Flora Project of Morris Arboretum.
See also: Invasive Plant Fact Sheets for additional invasive plants in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania State University. Cooperative Extension.

Columbia University. Center for Environmental Research and Conservation.
North Carolina State University. Cooperative Extension. Going Native: Urban Landscaping for Wildlife with Native Plants.

University of Maine. Cooperative Extension.

See also: Natural Resources Publications for entire "Maine Invasive Plants" series

Citations