European barberry, American barberry, barberry, common barberry, dragon grape, guild tree, jaundice barberry, jaundice berry, Pepperidge bush, sow berry, wood sour, yellow root.
A perennial shrub that grows to 8 feet in height. Leaves are small, ovate, grayish below; leaves on young sprouts are spiny. Yellow flowers are in racemes 1 to 2 inches long. Fruit is oblong, scarlet to purple. Inner wood is yellow. Bark is gray, having sharp spines at nodes.
May to July.
Pastures, thickets, and fence rows.
Root and stem, root bark, and fruit in fall.
The fruit is rich in Vitamin C and has been used in treating certain vitamin deficiencies. The root bark, which is astringent, has been used to treat diarrhea, dysentery, and jaundice. In Europe, a root infusion is used to treat chronic dyspepsia.