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  Japanese barberry  

Department of Natural Resources

Illinois Exotic Species:
Japanese barberry Berberis thunbergii

Japanese barberry is a native of Asia that was introduced into the United States in the late 1890s. This shrub has a rounded growth form. Its leaves are simple, alternate and spatula-shaped. There are numerous short spines on the stems. Flowers are produced from April through May. The bright red berries contain seeds which are eaten and dispersed by birds. This plant can grow in many soil types and is capable of growing in full sun or partial shade. Like other invasive exotic plants, it crowds and shades out native vegetation, especially in open woodlands. Japanese barberry grows in scattered locations throughout Illinois.

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