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Useful Temperate Plants

Berberis boliviana

Lechl.

Berberidaceae

+ Synonyms

Berberis chrysacantha C.K.Schneid.

Berberis conferta boliviana (Lechl.) C.K.Schneid.

Berberis weddellii Lechl.

Common Name:

No Image.

General Information

Berberis boliviana is an erect, much-branched, spiny shrub growing around 250cm tall
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and source of materials. The fruits are a very rich source of anthocyanins and have been recommended as a natural food colouring that has a range of health benefits[
1154
Title
Characterisation and preliminary bioactivity determination of Berberis boliviana Lechler fruit anthocyanins
Publication
Food Chemistry 128 (2011) 717-724
Author
Carla Del Carpio Jiménez, Carlos Serrano Flores et al
Publisher
 
Year
2011
ISBN
 
Description
 
].

Known Hazards

All parts of the plant contain the alkaloid berberine - this is most concentrated in the roots, stems and inner bark, and least concentrated in the fruits. In small quantities berberine has a range of effective medicinal applications but, in excess, can cause vomiting, lowered blood pressure, reduced heart rate, lethargy, and other ill-effects.
The fruit of most, if not all, members of this genus are more or less edible and can be eaten in quantity since the levels of berberine in the fruit are very low.

Botanical References

434
Title
Flora of Peru
Publication
 
Author
Macbride. J.F.
Publisher
Field Museum of Natural History
Year
1936
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent attempt at a Flora of Peru, though it is clear that many of the plants were imperfectly known at that time and so information on them was sketchy. Available for download from the Internet.

Range

S. America - Bolivia, Peru

Habitat

Steep, grazed hillsides[
508
Title
The Ethnobotany of Chinchero.
Publication
Fieldiana Botany New Series No. 24
Author
Franquemont C. Et al
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Field Museum of Natural History.
Year
1990
ISBN
0015-0746
Description
Brief details on the local uses of plants for an Andean community in southern Peru. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
]. Dry valleys; at elevations from 2,500 - 4,000 metres.

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitShrub
Height2.50 m
PollinatorsInsects
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Wild

Cultivation Details

Berberis boliviana is native to higher elevations in the tropics, generally at elevations from 2,500 - 4,000 metres and between latitudes of 20 - 13° south. In the north of its range it is often found in dry valleys, growing in areas where the mean annual rainfall is within the range 840 - 1,000mm, most of which falls in a cool season of around 6 months. In the dry season temperatures can be as high as 28°c in the daytime, but can fall below freezing in the night. In the wet season temperatures are more even, fluctuating between 7 - 14°c[
508
Title
The Ethnobotany of Chinchero.
Publication
Fieldiana Botany New Series No. 24
Author
Franquemont C. Et al
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Field Museum of Natural History.
Year
1990
ISBN
0015-0746
Description
Brief details on the local uses of plants for an Andean community in southern Peru. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].
Species in this genus generally prefer a warm moist loamy soil and light shade but re by no means fastidious, often succeeding in thin, dry and shallow soils[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
Some Berberis species (especially Berberis vulgaris) harbour the black stem-rust fungus (Puccinia graminis Persoon). This is a major disease of wheat and barley crops and can spread from infected barberries to the grain crop. The sale or transport of susceptible or untested species of Berberis is illegal in the United States and Canada[
270
Title
Flora of N. America
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/fna/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line version of the flora with an excellent description of the plant including a brief mention of plant uses.
]. We have no data on susceptibility for this species[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

Edible Uses

Fruit - raw or cooked. The red-purple berries are around 7mm long. Anecdotal information is that local people do not typically consume this fruit fresh since it dyes the lips and mouth when the first bite is taken. The fruit contains much higher levels of anthocyanins than most other fruits. These have a range of health benefits and potential medicinal applications, and can also be used as a natural colouring in a range of foods[
1154
Title
Characterisation and preliminary bioactivity determination of Berberis boliviana Lechler fruit anthocyanins
Publication
Food Chemistry 128 (2011) 717-724
Author
Carla Del Carpio Jiménez, Carlos Serrano Flores et al
Publisher
 
Year
2011
ISBN
 
Description
 
].

Medicinal

The fruits are a very rich source of anthocyanins, substances that have a range of potential health benefits and are prescribed as medicine in many countries[
1154
Title
Characterisation and preliminary bioactivity determination of Berberis boliviana Lechler fruit anthocyanins
Publication
Food Chemistry 128 (2011) 717-724
Author
Carla Del Carpio Jiménez, Carlos Serrano Flores et al
Publisher
 
Year
2011
ISBN
 
Description
 
]. They have been reported to have positive effects in the treatment of various micro-circulation diseases resulting from capillary fragility such as preventing cholesterol-induced atherosclerosis, inhibiting platelet aggregation and improving visual function[
1154
Title
Characterisation and preliminary bioactivity determination of Berberis boliviana Lechler fruit anthocyanins
Publication
Food Chemistry 128 (2011) 717-724
Author
Carla Del Carpio Jiménez, Carlos Serrano Flores et al
Publisher
 
Year
2011
ISBN
 
Description
 
]. Recent studies demonstrated potential benefits of anthocyanins on human health, including cancer prevention effects[
1154
Title
Characterisation and preliminary bioactivity determination of Berberis boliviana Lechler fruit anthocyanins
Publication
Food Chemistry 128 (2011) 717-724
Author
Carla Del Carpio Jiménez, Carlos Serrano Flores et al
Publisher
 
Year
2011
ISBN
 
Description
 
].

The alkaloid berberine, which is universally present in the roots and stems of Berberis species, has marked antibacterial effects. Since it is not appreciably absorbed by the body, it is used orally in the treatment of various enteric infections, especially bacterial dysentery[
218
Title
Medicinal Plants of China
Publication
 
Author
Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S.
Publisher
Reference Publications, Inc.
Year
1985
ISBN
0-917256-20-4
Description
Details of over 1,200 medicinal plants of China and brief details of their uses. Often includes an analysis, or at least a list of constituents. Heavy going if you are not into the subject.
].
It should not be used in combination with Glycyrrhiza species (Liquorice) because this nullifies the effects of the berberine[
218
Title
Medicinal Plants of China
Publication
 
Author
Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S.
Publisher
Reference Publications, Inc.
Year
1985
ISBN
0-917256-20-4
Description
Details of over 1,200 medicinal plants of China and brief details of their uses. Often includes an analysis, or at least a list of constituents. Heavy going if you are not into the subject.
].
Berberine has also shown antitumour activity[
218
Title
Medicinal Plants of China
Publication
 
Author
Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S.
Publisher
Reference Publications, Inc.
Year
1985
ISBN
0-917256-20-4
Description
Details of over 1,200 medicinal plants of China and brief details of their uses. Often includes an analysis, or at least a list of constituents. Heavy going if you are not into the subject.
].

Agroforestry Uses:

The plant has sharp thorns and is often grown to make an impenetrable hedge in the Andes of Peru and Bolivia[
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
].

Other Uses

The dark purple fruits have been used to wash and care for the hair, like a natural colouring shampoo[
1154
Title
Characterisation and preliminary bioactivity determination of Berberis boliviana Lechler fruit anthocyanins
Publication
Food Chemistry 128 (2011) 717-724
Author
Carla Del Carpio Jiménez, Carlos Serrano Flores et al
Publisher
 
Year
2011
ISBN
 
Description
 
].

The wood is hard and the stems are made into spindles[
508
Title
The Ethnobotany of Chinchero.
Publication
Fieldiana Botany New Series No. 24
Author
Franquemont C. Et al
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Field Museum of Natural History.
Year
1990
ISBN
0015-0746
Description
Brief details on the local uses of plants for an Andean community in southern Peru. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].
The wood is used for firewood[
508
Title
The Ethnobotany of Chinchero.
Publication
Fieldiana Botany New Series No. 24
Author
Franquemont C. Et al
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Field Museum of Natural History.
Year
1990
ISBN
0015-0746
Description
Brief details on the local uses of plants for an Andean community in southern Peru. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

Propagation

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame, when it should germinate in late winter or early spring[
78
Title
Propagation of Trees, Shrubs and Conifers.
Publication
 
Author
Sheat. W. G.
Publisher
MacMillan and Co
Year
1948
ISBN
-
Description
A bit dated but a good book on propagation techniques with specific details for a wide range of plants.
]. Seed from over-ripe fruit will take longer to germinate[
78
Title
Propagation of Trees, Shrubs and Conifers.
Publication
 
Author
Sheat. W. G.
Publisher
MacMillan and Co
Year
1948
ISBN
-
Description
A bit dated but a good book on propagation techniques with specific details for a wide range of plants.
], whilst stored seed may require cold stratification and should be sown in a cold frame as early in the year as possible[
80
Title
Hardy Woody Plants from Seed.
Publication
 
Author
McMillan-Browse. P.
Publisher
Grower Books
Year
1985
ISBN
0-901361-21-6
Description
Does not deal with many species but it is very comprehensive on those that it does cover. Not for casual reading.
]. The seedlings are subject to damping off, so should be kept well ventilated[
113
Title
The Reference Manual of Woody Plant Propagation.
Publication
 
Author
Dirr. M. A. and Heuser. M. W.
Publisher
Athens Ga. Varsity Press
Year
1987
ISBN
0942375009
Description
A very detailed book on propagating trees. Not for the casual reader.
]. When the seedlings are large enough to handle, prick them out into individual pots and grow them on in a cold frame. If growth is sufficient, it can be possible to plant them out into their permanent positions in the autumn, but generally it is best to leave them in the cold frame for the winter and plant them out in late spring or early summer of the following year.
Cuttings of half-ripe wood, mid summer in a frame.
Cuttings of mature wood of the current season's growth, preferably with a heel, autumn in a frame[
78
Title
Propagation of Trees, Shrubs and Conifers.
Publication
 
Author
Sheat. W. G.
Publisher
MacMillan and Co
Year
1948
ISBN
-
Description
A bit dated but a good book on propagation techniques with specific details for a wide range of plants.
].
Cite as: Temperate Plants Database, Ken Fern. temperate.theferns.info. 2018-10-21. <temperate.theferns.info/plant/Berberis+boliviana>

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